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IN the year 1798, being established as a merchant in 
Hamburg, where I had purchased a house in the Neuen 
Burg for 48,000 banco marks, and had been made free 
of the city, a friend recommended to me strongly, as a 
teacher of the German language, a General D'Angeli, a 
French emigre, who had been several years in the Aus- 
trian service. I told the General I should be glad to, 
profit by his talents - y but unfortunately my mind was so 
filled with business, that I was afraid I could not bend it 
to the study of grammar. " But sir, I shall never put a 
grammar into your hands I" " Well I if you can teach 
me a language without grammar, I shall be glad to see 
you to-morrow morning." I had studied the Latin for 
several years, I knew some Greek, and was well acquainted 
with the best authors in French and English (having re- 
sided inFrance nearly three years before the Revolution); 
I considered myself somewhat of a linguist, and was a 
little piqued at the idea of being told by a military gen- 
tleman how a language should be taught. The next 
morning the General arrived with a book of anecdotes in 
German, of which he translated one for me nearly word 
for word, parsing as he proceeded ; so that, when he had 
ended, I translated and understood it as well as so much 
A 2 

French or English. I confess I remained astounded at 
the result ; but not being able to doubt it, I continued 
my lesson, and learned thus five or six short anecdotes 
in an hour. On this plan I received about a dozen lessons, 
when I found T could read an easy German book ; and 
having about that time occasion to go to Leipsic and 
other parts of Germany, I took care to lodge at German 
houses, and thus acquired a tolerable facility in speaking 
and reading the language. This is the origin of the 
Hamiltonian System : I then thought as little of becom- 
ing a teacher as I do now of flying ; but I was amateur 
of languages enough to appreciate my obligations to Ge- 
neral D'Angeli, and think it but justice to record them 
here. I then recollected something of the same kind at 
the school of two ancient Jesuits, Messrs. Beatty and Mul- 
hall, men of great talents and learning, who, on the disso- 
lution of their order by Ganganelli, had established a 
school in Dublin, at which I remained four years. It was 
the custom of one of these gentlemen to translate, for the 
higher classes, twenty or txyentj^-five lines of Horace or 
Virgil every day, in the same manner that General D'An- 
geli translated the German, except that he did not parse 
(it was unnecessary for boys who had for many years 
studied the Latin grammar) 5 but while I took lessons in 
German, and often since, it has occurred to me, that if our 
masters had from the beginning thus translated for their 
pupils not twenty lines but several pages, every day, we 
should have, learned Latin in a tenth part of the time we 
had spent at it. 

Four years afterwards, I established a house in Paris, 
not as an Englishman, but as a citizen of Hamburg ; and, 
in conjunction with the banking-house ofKarcher and Co., 
I did considerable business with England during the peace 
of Amiens. 

At the rupture of the treaty of Amiens, I was made pri- 
soner, notwithstanding the representations of the senate 
of Hamburg in my favour. All they could obtain was, 
that my name should be effaced from the list of prisoners 
of war, and my Passport, or Carte de Surete, had " efface 
de laliste des prisonniers de guerre/' as a citizen of Ham- 
burg, inscribed on it : but as a natifof England, I was de- 
tained during the war, to the ruin of my business inHam- 
burg and in Paris. 

In 1814, 1 revisitedEngland and Holland; but the com- 
mercial world was then so totally changed, that I found 
to do business again I must become an apprentice ; I was 
then forty-five ; it was too late. I determined, therefore, 
to go to the United States, and become a farmer and ma- 
nufacturer of potash, of which I thought I knew more 
than the Americans. This project I put in execution 
the following year, and had actually agreed for a small 
farm, 250 miles to the north-west of New York; and was 
on horseback on my way to see it, at seven o'clock in the 
morning in October, 1815. The cold was severe, and the 
pain in both my feet intolerable. In this state I reflected, 
as I passed through the woods, how I should be able to 
bear a frost of four months, during which the ground 
would be covered with snow, and the cold much more 
intense ? I considered it impossible, and, bravely yielding 
to this impression, I turned my horse's head about, to 
the utter astonishment of my guide, who in vain repre- 
sented to me, that we were within a mile of the farm ; 
and halted not till I arrived in New York, three days 
afterwards ! having retraced in that time a journey 
which it had taken me three weeks to perform. 

I had in France, for my amusement, tried on my own 
children and on others, though to no great extent, the new 
ideas I had conceived as to teaching the languages ; and 

as I was no farmer, and thought it at least possible I 
might not succeed in that business, I had determined, in 
the midst of the ennui and fever of my voyage to New 
York, to try the experiment of it, in case of need ; not as 
any thing permanent, but as a pis-aller, till something 
better offered. This was the plan I resolved now to exe- 
cute for the winter, promising myself in the spring to set 
out afresh on my farming expedition. 

Preparatory to this I wrote an Essay on the usual mode 
of teaching the languages, in which I explained the ideas I 
had myself on the subject ; and while I acknowledged I 
had never given a lesson for money, I stated my confi- 
dence in the success of the mode of teaching which I 
proposed. Having finished my manuscript, I submitted 
it to the inspection of the Rev. Mr. Feltus, of the Protes- 
tant Episcopal Church, who so much approved of it, that 
he became himself with his two sons my first pupils : at 
the same time I taught two other clergymen ; and all 
three, together with Judge Van Ness, of the district 
court, gave me the most flattering testimonials. I was, 
indeed, myself so astonished and delighted at the progress 
made by these gentlemen, particularly the last, that I 
gave the details of it in the papers of the day -, which 
produced so favourable an impression on the public 
mind, that my whole time was soon engaged, at a 
dollar a lesson for each person, and I began to think 
teaching a better trade than farming. 

The progress of my pupils was, however, nothing equal 
to what I have since produced ; but it was indubitably 
greater than had ever been effected on the common plan. 
There was, indeed, nothing then that could be called a 
system, although two important principles formed the 
best possible foundation for one. / taught, instead of 
ordering to learn ; and secondly, I taught my pupils to 

translate at once, instead of making them get a grammar 
by heart. I had tried to parse also, as well as translate, 
as D'Angeli had done with rne, but I found this would 
do only with linguists. The grammar was incomprehensi- 
ble at this period to the greater number of my pupils. I 
therefore deferred it till they had taken half the course : by 
that time, as they had me% in their reading all the in- 
flections of the verbs, and changes of the other declina- 
ble parts of speech, thousands of times, they found 
grammar an easy task. I then gave them two or three 
lectures on grammar generally, but particularly the verbs, 
of which I gave them a copy ; and from this period my 
pupils read at their own home, and in class learned the 
use of the words they had acquired in reading. They read 
the English Gospel of St. John into French, first after 
me, in precisely the same manner as I had taught them 
first to translate French into English, but with this es- 
sential difference, my translation into French was a free 
translation in simple but correct language, which they 
afterwards wrote : and in the correcting of which I gave 
them the details of the principles or rules of grammar, 
and thus taught them to write and speak correctly. 

During the first campaign, which lasted from the be- 
ginning of February till June, I took no class through 
the course. My pupils read French with facility and 
pleasure in twenty- four lessons, of two hours each : they 
had then no keys, they were content with their progress, 
and with their progress proclaimed the fame of my sys- 
tem wherever they went. I had thus, in the first year, 
about seventy pupils, who paid me twenty-four dollars 
each for half a course, and which confirmed me a teacher 
for life. 

But in America as well as England, many teachers, 
out-heroding Herod, imagined that the system did really 


more than I professed, or that it did all I professed in 
every instance ; and that teaching would hereafter be- 
come like weaving, a mere mechanical process ; that 
languages might be obtained not only without study, 
but even without attending the class* I have had in all 
my classes since, persons who seemed to be of this opi- 
nion, and who, neither attending nor studying, fancied 
they should get the language infallibly, because they had 
paid their subscription, But teachers dreaded there, as 
many in England yet do, the ruin of their establishments 
by the introduction of the system into schools generally 5 
and though they did not come forward openly to oppose 
it by arguments, far less by facts, yet did they see with 
pleasure the virulent attacks of anonymous writers, or 
tirades of abuse from those French teachers who con- 
sidered me an intruder on their profession. A second 
winter in New York proved still more successful than 
the first : besides the number who took twelve or twenty- 
four lessons, a class of gentlemen went through the 
whole course triumphantly, and realized the utmost 
success I had ever predicted, speaking and writing the 
French with nearly as much facility as English. 

I proceeded thence to Philadelphia, in September, 
where my reception was still more flattering than in 
New York, and where, by the discussions which took 
place, I first perceived .that in translating I ANALYZED, 
and consequently taught the grammar of the language 
with every word I taught my pupil : forming thus a 
THIRD PRINCIPLE of the system, a principle which it is 
inconceivable should have escaped the genius of Milton, 
of Locke, of Clarke, of Dumarsais and his followers, all 
of whom eulogized literal translations as the only ra- 
tional mode of acquiring a language, but not one of 
whom ever translated one line literally, for no translation 

can justly be called literal which is not analytical. This 
difference was the sole reason why the translations of 
all these authors have been found inefficient, and even 
mischievous, and have therefore been justly scouted 
from the schools of all countries ; and for this reason it 
is that the translations lately made, professedly Hamil- 
tonian, but which are not analytical, as well as the trans- 
lations professedly on the system of Locke not one 
word of either of which can be relied on by the pupil 
as the precise meaning of the word above it have equally 
failed, and will for ever fail. I had, however, at this 
time, no books ; my system rested wholly with myself ; 
and as few men possessed such a knowledge as I did of 
the English and French languages (which latter I prin- 
cipally taught), few or none could rival me. I felt this, 
and was, perhaps, not perfectly guiltless of illiberality 
and selfishness in thus keeping my system to myself, 
till some time after my arrival in England, in order that 
I might be without a rival in teaching for on my 
system, I found as much facility in teaching 100 persons 
(which I often did) as a class of half a dozen -, but with 
books any man could do as much as I, as has been tri- 
umphantly proved in England, provided he be willing to 
do as much ; but many pretended Ham iltonian teachers 
have disgraced the system and themselves, by effecting 
much less than they promised. 

In Philadelphia I delivered my first lecture, and here 
my mode of teaching began to assume the character as 
well as the name of a system ; by which I mean, such a 
reunion and combination of certain fixed fundamental 
principles, as may enable the teacher to produce certain 
positive results, at all times and from every pupil, sup- 
posing a moderate degree of attention. Here, I first 
asserted that the words of all languages have, with few 



exceptions, one meaning only, and should be translated 
generally by the same word, which should stand for its 
representative at all times, and in all places ; thus con- 
stituting a FOURTH principle : and, FIFTHLY, that the 
simple sounds of all languages being, with few exceptions, 
identically the same, it must be as easy for an English- 
man to pronounce French as English, when taught, and 
vice versa. Here, I first made the distinction between 
accent and pronunciation, so generally confounded, the 
latter being a distinct articulate utterance, the former 
l the tone or song with which we speak ; that the latter 
can be communicated to any person, the former is in- 
communicable $ the latter may be perfect with every 
accent, but all accent as far as it goes is a vice ; of im- 
portance, however, only when it degenerates into brogue. 
In all my classes I have demonstrated the infallible cer- 
tainty of acquiring a correct pronunciation, by being 
taught in class by a person possessing himself a correct 
pronunciation. The reunion of these different princi- 
ples justified the title of system by their results -, but the 
reunion of them in a class so constructed, that each in- 
dividual member should be an assistance rather than an 
incumbrance to every other, in which one man could 
teach as many as could hear him, and where number 
added to the interest and pleasure of the lesson, consti- 
tuted a SIXTH and last principle more important than 
all the others. To distinguish it from other soi-disant 
systems, I thought myself justified in calling it Hamil- 
tonian, and the public have confirmed the appellation. 

The system, to be perfect, wanted only books : I 
printed in Philadelphia the first three chapters of the 
Gospel of St. John in French, with an analytical key, 
from which I found immense relief to myself as well as 
benefit to the pupil $ and after remaining a year, I pro- 


ceeded to Baltimore, where the fame of my system had 
already preceded me, and enabled me to form immediately 
numerous classes. 

After teaching here about six months adult pupils, to 
occupy the leisure of my wife and daughters I had just 
taken about twenty children, when I was attacked by 
the Professors of Baltimore College, who, in a play re- 
presented by their pupils, endeavoured to ridicule the 
New Mode of teaching. As they made no secret of their 
intention, I had no difficulty in procuring a ticket 3 arid 
using the privilege of a spectator, three days afterwards 
I gave the play at full length in one of the newspapers, 
with such comments on the play and actors, as'raised a 
good deal of laughter at the expense of the author. 
The President replied with great virulence 5 thence a 
paper war which lasted three months, during which the 
Hamiltonian System was fully discussed in its theory 
and results, and contrasted so successfully with the 
systems of the schools, that the College was obliged to 
close its doors, not having a single pupil, while, in the 
same time, the Hamiltonian school had increased to 
above one hundred and sixty. 

This school, which counted nearly twenty teachers, 
each occupying a separate room, I fear not to say, 
effected wonders, though it wanted an indispensable 
part of the system when applied to schools, that is, ana- 
lytical translations. The want of them caused me enor- 
mous expense and enormous labour, which, added to an 
extraordinary pressure on commerce that year, the 
wretched state of my health from excessive labour and 
the heat of the climate, and, above all, the yellow fever, 
which made its appearance about July, all this obliged 
me to give up my school to the teachers whom I had em- 
ployed, but who, unhappily, knew not how to conduct 
it, and suffered it shortly afterwards to fall. 


I went on to Washington, where healthful air and 
idleness soon gave me strength to lecture $ and where I 
got introduced to most of the principal men of the 
Federal Government, and, among others, to Mr. Craw- 
ford, Secretary of the Treasury, whose two sons I taught, 
and who furnished me with letters to the American Am- 
bassador in London ; as did several others, for I was 
determined, sooner or later, to offer my dicovery to the 
investigation of my countrymen. 

I tl\ence proceeded to Boston, where I remained for five 
weeks, offering my system and my lessons in vain ; I 
could obtain no pupils* At length a celebrated Unita- 
rian Preacher and Professor of the University attacked 
my advertisement, and treated my pretensions as those 
of a charlatan. I had the day before begun to teach 
my first class, four pupils. In answer to this attack, 
with which I acknowledge I was much pleased, I invited 
the writer and his friends to come to my apartments on 
that day fortnight, and, by their own examination of my 
pupils, convince themselves whether I was or not the 
person he was pleased to represent me. My answer 
created a considerable sensation in town, and the result 
became the object of general interest. On the appointed 
day the Professor did not come, but seven gentlemen of 
acknowledged erudition and respectability, among whom 
an ex-governor of the State and one or two judges, did 
come, and examined my pupils most minutely. During 
the examination (in which I took myself no part) they 
repeatedly expressed their admiration of the accuracy of 
the translation, and the correctness of their pronuncia- 
tion. They each gave me next day a distinct testimony, 
couched in the strongest language, to the merits of the 
system. These testimonies I published, and obtained 
by them not less than two hundred pupils, 

I left Boston only in June, when the heat became 


intolerable j and, after passing some weeks at Balstown, 
and visiting some other places, I returned to "Philadel- 
phia in winter, where I obtained above three hundred 

Besides the places I have mentioned, I visited a great 
number of towns in the interior during the summers I 
passed in the States ; as also the colleges of Schenectady, 
Princeton, Yale, Hartford, and Middleburg -, where I 
counted as my pupils, not only a very considerable num- 
ber of the students, but also the professors, with the 
exception of Yale College, where the students only at- 
tended. I experienced in all a degree of liberality, 
which contrasted strongly with their pre-conceived opi- 
nions. All had imagined the system mere charlatanerie ; 
all recognised its merits before I departed. 

In 1822 I went to Montreal, and thence to Quebec, 
and succeeded tolerably well in both places. And thus 
ended, in July 1823, my career in America. But, be- 
fore I quit it to pursue this history in the United King- 
dom during the last five years, let me be permitted to 
mention a circumstance which occurred in Montreal. 

I had among my pupils the gaoler, by whose invitation 
I visited the gaol ; there were, among others, eight Eng- 
lishmen confined for different offences. These I formed 
into a class, and determined to try on them the effects 
of my system in teaching the English their own lan- 
guage ; seven of these persons knew more or less of read- 
ing or spelling, though some of them very little ; one 
only knew not one letter. I gave them all children's 
books of the same kind, and placing the wholly ignorant 
man last of the class at my left hand, I made all the 
others spell, word by word, a sentence composed of 
words familiar to the pupils, as, "The cat loves mice 3" 
" John is a good boy," &c. &c. I began by articulating 


audibly T H E the : the first member at my right 
repeated in the same tone T H E the, while I con- 
tinued to point 'to each letter as it was pronounced, to 
the pupil on the left hand : when the word had come 
round to him, he repeated with facility and pleasure, 
pointing to the letters T H E the! Thus did we 
with each word in succession ; and after spelling all the 
words in the same manner, I read the whole phrase, 
which was read by each member of the class till it came 
to my left hand pupil, who also read it with facility : 
four short phrases were thus read, and perfectly ac- 
quired in about three-quarters of an hour. I then gave 
one of the prisoners full directions for proceeding, pro- 
mising him half a dollar a week ; and this task he exe- 
cuted so successfully, that, having called to see them 
at the end often days, I found my pupil could read, 
with facility and perfect understanding, in any part of 
the Testament ! I have made many efforts since that 
time to introduce this plan into schools ; but, strange to 
tell, it has, with few exceptions, met with almost uni- 
form opposition. Lately, however, I began a class of 
five children, at St. Philip's Church Sunday School, 
Manchester. All were wholly ignorant of their letters, 
and one or two not more than five or six years old. I 
gave them one lesson, and have been assured, that, at 
the end of about twelve lessons, they were found fit to 
enter the Testament reading class. Mr. Andrews, a 
schoolmaster of Salford, has also introduced it into his 
school, and has enabled a class of very small children, 
not knowing one letter, to read English with tolerable 
facility in about two months, with a pleasure and in- 
terest to pupil and teacher, contrasting most strongly 
with the labour and disgust incident to both on the com- 
mon plan. 




Thus is the Hamiltonian System applicable to educa- 
tion in all its parts. In my school in Baltimore, I ap- 
plied it to writing, arithmetic, and geography, with the 
fullest success* and always to the delight of the pupil 
always pleased with instruction when he can obtain it 
without arduous labour or unnecessary delay : and, 
above all, when it is intelligible. I here again offer my 
gratuitous services to every Institution willing to adopt 
the system, in any or all its parts, whether for children 
or adults whether for English or other languages ; and 
though I do not engage to work long for nothing, yet 1 
promise that my instructions shall be so clear, as tc 
enable any honest and well-informed teacher to do as 
much as I profess being able to do myself. 

This history of my success in the United States, when 
I counted among my pupils many of the first men in the 
country, of all professions, and whose unanimous appro 
bation had doubtless a little inflated a naturally enthu- 
siastic imagination, was necessary, perhaps, in the mine 
of the reader, to justify the confidence with which 1 
offered my system to the British public. It will be re- 
membered what an outcry was caused by my advertise- 
ments : but wherefore ? did not others profess to do as 
I ? Many, no doubt, every day. Why, then, were those 
gentlemen supposed to be acting in the right line ol 
their profession, while I, for saying the same thing, was 
abused as a quack or impostor ? The reason is, that J 
alone appeared to be serious in what I advanced ; that 
my advertisements had an air of truth that falsehood 
never can put on ; that I appealed to almost instanta- 
neous facts and personal experience, to the result of a feMi 
lessons, as a test of the truth of what I advanced - } and 
that no other man had ever thus come forward. I appeal 
to the candid reader, whether I could, with a just regard 


to truth, have said less than I did at that time ; and I 
appeal, still more boldly, to the public at large, whether 
I have not since fully and honourably redeemed every 
pledge I have given. 

The result was a success beyond what I had ever 
before experienced, so that I was obliged to employ 
seven other teachers with myself. In eighteen months I 
had above six hundred pupils for the different languages 
(Greek, Latin, German, French, and Italian) ; and, among 
them, many of the first families in the kingdom. I had 
brought to London above thirty letters of recommen- 
dation, but I used none of them not even those to the 
American Ambassador. Three months afterwards, I 
handed three of them to his Secretary, who had become 
my pupil and my friend, and whose advice, repeatedly 
and kindly pressed on me, to abstain from angry repli- 
cation to prejudiced schoolmasters, I heartily wish I had 
followed. This is, however, but one of the many faults 
which I doubtless have made, though I have not men- 
tioned them in this history. His Excellency did me 
the honour to acknowledge my letters by a visit at my 
house in Cecil-street. One of the faults, and perhaps 
the greatest, was to quit London at this time : the 
reasons for this have no connection with this history ; 
it was, however, as mischievous as the leaving my school 
in Baltimore ; for, though I left my establishment in 
London in the hands of persons capable of effecting all 
I had ever professed to do, yet others also took up the 
system who knew it not, and thus was the public imposed 
on in many instances : this, together with the knowledge 
that I was no longer in London, did the system much 
mischief, at a time when, assailed on all sides by other 
teachers frightened at its success, it needed the support 
of its veteran defenders. With the like success, as to 


the number and respectability of my pupils, I have since 
taught in Liverpool, Manchester, Edinburgh, Dublin, 
Belfast, and at least twenty other places, effecting every- 
where the utmost I had ever professed in the first three 
sections of my course ; that is, by enabling the pupil to 
read and analytically to translate, in the first section, the 
Gospel of St. John ; in the second, the Fables of Per- 
rin ; and, in the third, the Recueil Choisi ; for all which 
I had published analytical translations j but not often 
going farther. For this many reasons may beassigned ; 
and as I have often been blamed for it, in my justifica- 
tion I think it necessary to enter into some details rela- 
tive to the formation and conduct of my classes. It 
may be of use for the government of other teachers, 
who may remedy the inconvenience to which the rules I 
have prescribed to myself (and not the system) have 
subjected me. I teach adults only ; and as I find it as 
easy to teach one hundred persons in a class as four or 
five, my interest, as well as the interest of the pupil, is, 
that I should form large classes. But to this there are 
so many obstacles, chiefly from the fear of misassocia- 
tion, a thing impossible in my classes, where the mem- 
bers have no more communication than if in church, 
that my private classes rarely consist of more than from 
six to twelve. The members being bound only for ten 
lessons, or one section, it usually happens that from ill 
health, business, &c., one or two drop off at the end of 
the first j as many at the end of the second $ and so on 
till the class is too small to attend without loss. The 
same thing happens in my public classes, when they are 
taught by sections. When I have engaged to teach the 
whole course, though all, who attend faithfully, infal- 
libly succeed, yet these are usually the smaller part of 
the class. Many of the members being in business are 


frequently prevented from attending the class, others 
from reading out of class. If the teacher were not sub- 
jected to teach the language in the smallest possible 
number of lessons, the non-attendance of the pupil for a 
lesson or ten lessons would be a trifle ; but if, having 
taught him to read in thirty lessons the French, Italian, 
or German language, he be restricted to twenty more to 
enable him to write and speak, and that the pupil omit 
to attend one-half of them, it is evident that, without 
any fault in the system, the pupil will not have attained 
the desired degree of proficiency at the end of the course. 
Now, as I have hitherto made it a rule not to stop longer 
than five or six months in any place, that is to say, 
longer than is necesssary to form classes, and to perfect 
those who choose to join them at first, and to go through 
the course, it follows that all who neglect to take the 
lessons of the course are without remedy, as well as 
those who, waiting to see the result of the system in the 
first and second sections, become members of classes, 
formed often when I have already spent half the time I 
intend stopping in any place ; all these persons complain 
bitterly of my departure, and I leave no place without 
leaving behind me many of both descriptions. But the 
Hamiltonian System has nothing to do with this. Its 
author, wishing to make it known, wishing to see its 
adoption by other teachers, and much more desirous 
that others should obtain scholars than himself, is 
obliged to travel ; but the Hamiltonian Teacher who 
remains fixed in one place will not have these inconve- 
niences, and will therefore do more to satisfy his pupils 
than the author of the system, for the reasons above- 
mentioned, has been able to do. The resident teacher 
will, in every instance, fulfil the utmost wish of the 
pupil ; but then the resident teacher must not confine 


himself absolutely to a fixed number of lessons for a 
class. He must permit the member, who has not been 
able to attend, to obtain extra lessons on paying for 
them, which the author of the system has never been 
able to do. A circumstance of which many of his pupils 
have complained, but which he has been obliged to per- 
sist in, from the rule prescribed to himself, never to take 
more from a pupil than the public subscription to the 
course or section ; never to afford one pupil an advantage 
which all did not possess. 

But the mischief is by no means so great, in any of 
these cases, as many pupils suppose. They think that, 
not having been perfected, what they have got is worth 
nothing : they have, however, got what no pupil ever got, 
in any length of time, on the common plan they can 
translate with a degree of accuracy, which no teacher, 
on the common plan, has ever approached; they analyse 
all they read, and thus in effect parse it ; they have a 
correct pronunciation ; they possess, in fact, all that is 
necessary to perfect themselves, and they have already 
obtained more than is ever obtained on the common 
plan. Only let them continue to read, and take the 
fifth section the first opportunity that presents itself. 

In reading over my manuscript, I perceive I have not 
sufficiently described the two latter sections. I have said 
at the beginning of the third section I lecture on gram- 
mar generally, particularly the verbs, in which the pupil 
is exercised during the whole of the third section de- 
voting half of each lesson to this, and the other half to 
reading. By the exercises on the verbs, I mean orally 
teaching them to use with facility, affirmatively, nega- 
tively, and interrogatively, the regular verbs, and about 
a dozen others which are of momentary occurrence in 
conversation -, and this, I think, has not been suffici- 


ently attended to, or at least not been continued long 
enough, in my classes hitherto, from a too great confi- 
dence in the attention of the classes to know their verbs 
perfectly, at a time when they can obtain a perfect 
knowledge of them with so little trouble. The teacher 
must trust nothing, absolutely nothing, to the pupil, 
whether boy or adult. . 

In three classes which I have now in Manchester, 
after reading for some days the English Testament into 
French, I returned to these oral exercises in the use of 
the verbs j and the result has been singularly successful. 
It has restored confidence to several members of these 
classes, who having never read except in class, were 
consequently fearful that, according to my repeated pre- 
dictions, they would not be able to speak, and has in- 
duced them to apply again to reading, while, in the 
mean time, they use with delight, in writing and speak- 
ing, the words of which they have already, by these 
exercises, obtained a perfect command. 

Let, I say, these exercises be continued faithfully to 
the end of the third section, and four or five lessons of 
the fourth. At the fifth lesson of the fourth section, I 
begin to translate the English Gospel of St. John into 
pure French simple but correct language. One of the 
pupils repeats the phrase as I have given it, arid thus it 
is repeated four or five times, more or less, until per- 
fectly understood by every member of the class : a 
second verse is then read in the same manner, diminish- 
ing the number of repetitions as the task becomes more 
easy, until at length, at the third or fourth lesson, it is 
found that one repetition is sufficient. Of what is thus 
read in class, four or five verses are written by the pupil 
out of class, and brought as an exercise, in the correc- 
tion of which the teacher points out the faults he may 


have made, and the mode of avoiding them in future, 
with the general rules and principles of grammar. It 
will be usually found, that, at the end of six or eight 

exercises of this kind, he will make no more faults in 
grammar. The pupil continues to read the English 
Testament in the manner above described, until he can 
read it alone without the assistance of his teacher ; con- 

inuing daily to present some exercise in French, as a 
commercial or friendly letter or anecdote, till his style be 
free from Anglicisms, which are the last faults which dis- 
appear, and which reading alone can perfectly conquer. 
To read French at sight with as much facility as Eng- 
lish, to write a friendly or commercial letter correctly 
and readily, to speak with correctness, though not at 
first with fluency, is the usual degree of facility and 
knowledge my pupils acquire in this language ; a know- 
ledge, as I have elsewhere remarked, certainly suscept- 
ible of extent and accuracy, but much more than has ever 
yet been communicated in any length of time on the 
common system ; indeed, as much as one man can com- 
municate to another, and, certainly, sufficient for any 
social and commercial purpose ; and this knowledge 
the pupil is immediately able to communicate to another, 
while it is acquired in so short time, with so much cer- 
tainty, and with so trifling an expense of labour and mo- 
ney, that surely no man or woman, acquainted with the 
existence of the system, will neglect to profit by it. 

The following fact is too important in itself, and too 
honourable to my system, to be omitted here. Besides 
the numerous classes which assembled at my house in 
Cecil-street, private classes were attended in different 
parts of the town. One of my partners met a class at 
the house of Mr. John Smith, M.P. This gentleman was 
so delighted with the system, that he conceived the idea 


of rendering it the national mode of instruction, and of 
founding a University for the propagation of it? For 
this purpose, it was judged necessary to authenticate the 
progress of a class of boy's in the Latin language ; and, 
after communicating with me on the subject, he very 
nobly subscribed one hundred pounds towards the ex- 
pense of it. Several of his friends also subscribed, so 
that 58225. were collected to defray the expense of the ex- 
periment, which was confided to me. I had so Jittle doubt 
of producing the utmost result that the wildest imagina- 
tion could suppose possible in human beings, that my 
sole care was to authenticate their progress. The fear 
that the public might suppose the success a delusion, 
deprived me of that judgment and reflection so neces- 
sary for its success. I had just given up my establish- 
ment in Cecil-street to my son-in-law, Mr. UNDERWOOD; 
and it was feared that the reception of ten charity boys 
into the house might injure the establishment. I there- 
fore took a house in Gower-street, by which I incurred 
a loss of above 300. But the great mistake was, to 
make the experiment of a foreign language on boys who 
knew little or nothing of their own : they were taken 
from an obscure charity school from the very lowest 
grade of human beings ; they knew no language further 
than the expression of their physical wants or childish 
pleasures they could scarcely read their Testament 
they had never read any thing else. I know not how I 
could be blind enough not to see the impossibility of 
teaching such children (from ten to thirteen years of age) 
Latin, without first teaching them English ; or how Mr. 
Smith himself, and those gentlemen who assisted at the 
examination of these boys before the experiment began, 
and who fully authenticated their almost total destitution 
of either words or ideas in their own language, did not 


reflect on the utter impossibility of communicating to 
them a greater knowledge of Latin than they possessed 
of English. As they understood the greater part of the 
words of the Testament, when these words were turned 
into Latin for them, they could comprehend them also 
in that language ; but when we got beyond the Testament, 
to Cornelius Nepos or Caesar's Commentaries, into a 
language more elevated, and the expression of ideas to 
which their previous ignorance rendered them total 
strangers, it was necessary with the Latin word to teach 
the pupil also the English word, and, with both, the idea 
which they represented ; a task impossible to perform 
simultaneously to any extent, and the impossibility of 
which became so evident after they had gone through 
the Gospel of St. John, the Epitome of the Historia Sacra, 
and the De Viris Illustribus of Aurelius Victor, that I 
made them read English every day, with a hope of ex- 
tending their knowledge in that language, and thus ren- 
dering their acquirement of another to any extentpossible. 
But this consumed the time allowed for the experiment ; 
and, therefore, in order that it should not wholly fail, I 
turned their attention to the French and Italian langua- 
ges, and in two months made them know of these two 
languages as much, or more, than they knew of Latin : 
that is, that they could understand an easy author in 
either; translate it with perfect grammatical accuracy 
and a correct pronunciation. So far as their knowledge 
of English went, so far the system operated on them to 
its utmost extent, and would, I doubt not, have sufficed 
for one or two other languages in the same time : but 
when their English words were exhausted, then arose the 
insurmountable difficulty of communicating the know- 
ledge of new ones ; and here, let it be said, en passant, is 
another most formidable difficulty, which the present plan 


of teaching the Latin opposes to the progress of the pupil 
in common schools, instead of making him begin by 
reading a considerable number of easy English authors, 
such, for example, as those published by the Society for 
Education in Ireland, and thus giving him a fund of in- 
formation and ideas, as well as a knowledge of his own 
language, the boy is put to study the English or Latin 
grammar, which can communicate to him neither words 
nor ideas. It is not, therefore, to be wondered at, that 
the result is such as we see it every day. But another 
difficulty attended this ill-fated experiment ; a want of 
harmony arose, I know not how, between the gentlemen 
who induced me to undertake it and myself: they saw 
me not they imagined they had paid for the experiment 
its full value, while I knew that it occasioned me a loss 
of above 500. They appeared to consider me as a mere 
workman in the business. Hurt with a treatment which I 
then thought, and still think, I did not merit, at the end 
of six months I left town and the examination of the 
pupils to the gentlemen who had proposed the experi- 
ment. The account given of this examination was as 
follows : 

Extract from the Morning Chronicle of Wednesday, No- 
vember 16th, 1825. " Hamiltonian System. We yester- 
day were present at an examination of eight lads who have 
been under Mr. Hamilton since some time in the month of 
May last, with a view to ascertain the efficacy of his system 
in communicating a knowledge of languages. These eight 
lads, all of them between the ages of twelve and fourteen, 
are the children of poor people, who when they were first 
placed under Mr. Hamilton, possessed no other instruction 
than common reading and writing. They were obtained 
from a common country school, through the interposition 
of a Member of Parliament, who takes an active part in pro- 


moting charity schools throughout the country ; and the 
choice was determined by the consent of the parents, and 
not by the cleverness of the boys. 

" They had been employed in learning Latin, French, and 
latterly Italian ; and yesterday they were examined by se- 
veral distinguished individuals, among whom we recognised 
John Smith, Esq. M. P.; G. Smith, Esq. M. P. ; Mr. J. 
Mill, the historian of British India ; Major Camac ; Major 
Thompson ; Mr. Cowell, &c. &c. They first read different 
portions of the Gospel of St. John, in Latin, and of Caesar's 
Commentaries, selected by the visitors. The translation 
was executed with an ease which it would be in vain to 
expect in any of the boys who attend our common schools, 
even in their third or fourth year ; and proved that the prin- 
ciple of exciting the attention of boys to the utmost, during 
the process by which the meaning of words is fixed in their 
memory, had given them a great familiarity with so much 
of the language as is contained in the books above alluded 
to. Their knowledge of the parts of speech was respectable, 
but not so remarkable ; as the Hamiltonian System follows 
the natural mode of acquiring language, and only employs 
the boys in analysing, when they have already attained a 
certain familiarity with any language. 

" The same experiments were repeated in French and 
Italian with the same success ; and, upon the whole, we 
cannot but think the success has been complete. It is im- 
possible to conceive a more impartial mode of putting any 
system to the test, than to make such an experiment on the 
children of our peasantry." 

On this statement the Edinburgh Review thus remarks: 

" Into the truth of this statement we have personally in- 
quired, and it seems to us to have fallen short of the facts, 
from the laudable fear of over- stating them. The lads 
selected for the experiment were parish boys of the most 



ordinary description, reading English worse than Cumber- 
land curates, and totally ignorant of the rudiments of any 
other language. They were purposely selected by a gentleman 
who defrayed its expence, and who had the strongest desire 
to put strictly to the test the efficacy of the Hamiltonian 
System. The experiment was begun the middle of May, 
1825, and concluded on the 16th day of November, in the 
same year mentioned in the extract, exactly six months 
after. The Latin books set before them were the Gospel 
of St. John, and parts of Caesar's Commentaries ; some 
Italian book or books (what we know not), and a selection 
of French histories. The visitors put the boys on where 
they pleased, and the translation was (as the reporter says) 
executed with an ease which it would be in vain to expect 
in any of the boys who attend our common schools, even in 
their third or fourth year." 

This account, as the writer in the Edinburgh Review 
justly remarked, was rather under than over the mark. 
It was a fair and honourable account of it ; though their 
knowledge of French and Italian was scarcely attended 
to at the examination, far less their previous ignorance 
of all language, and their emptiness of all ideas. Had I 
chosen ten boys from a different class of society, whose 
ideas had been expanded by conversation, and their 
knowledge of their own language by reading ; or, if I 
had made these ten boys begin by a course of two months' 
reading the books above alluded to, the experiment would 
have been complete. I have the fullest conviction, that 
were I to repeat it on proper subjects, or, what is the 
same thing, begin it by a two months' course of English 
reading, having at the same time translations such as I 
have since made, they could have been taken through a 
course of thirteen volumes, and have been made to know 
them perfectly. I consider the experiment a failure; 


but no man else has a right to consider it so : it produced, 
against every obstacle that imagination could offer to its 
success, a progress manifold greater than had ever been 
effected on the common plan, in the same length of time, 
in three languages a progress in the Latin justly esti- 
mated a three years' progress on the common plan ; and 
an accuracy in translating French and Italian, which on 
the plan of our sch*ools, or in any other manner than by 
my translations (which were not then made), has never 
been acquired in any length of time whatever. The 
University, of which the System gave the first idea, has 
been reared -, but its founders, disdaining the more 
humble but more useful ambition of rendering the lan- 
guages an easy acquisition to the youth of this kingdom, 
have taken a loftier flight, and SUCCEEDED. 'Tis well : 
but until the primary schools (I mean those called gram- 
mar schools) adopt a different mode of teaching the lan- 
guages than that now in use, or until the Universities 
take up the languages themselves on a better plan, the 
best of them will do little towards a greater diffusion of 
real science than at present exists. 

In a work such as this, intended to give a full account 
of the Hamiltonian System, I ought, perhaps, to mention 
those who have written for and against it. To men- 
tion all the latter, would alone require a pamphlet larger 
than this : had there, however, been found among them 
one single man of talent one candid and able adversary 
I would gladly give his arguments here -, but I declare, 
upon my honour, I have never read a single page which ? 
for fact or argument, deserved notice. The late Dr. 
Jones was, perhaps, the most respectable writer who has 
attacked the system in Europe j but Dr. Jones had a 
system of his own, and his system and his attack were 
equally weak : I judged them both utterly unworthy of 
notice. B 3 


Several able defences have appeared, both here and in 
America. The best of these is, without doubt, that 
which drew forth Dr. Jones's attack, from the pen of the 
Rev. Sidney Smith, and appeared in the Edinburgh Re- 
view for June, 1826. It is written with great strength 
of reasoning, as well as humour : the matter was rich, 
and he has made the most of it. He concludes an essay 
of twenty-three octavo pages in the following manner : 
after quoting some of the rules of the Eton and West- 
minster grammars, he continues, 

" Such are the easy initiations of our present methods of 
teaching. The Hamiltonian System, on the other hand, 1 . 
teaches an unknown tongue by the closest interlinear trans- 
lation, instead of leaving a boy to explore his way by the 
lexicon or dictionary. 2. It postpones the study of grammar 
till a considerable progress has been acquired. 3. It sub- 
stitutes the cheerfulness and competition of the Lancasterian 
system for the dull solitude of the dictionary. By these 
means a boy finds he is making a progress, and learning 
something from the very beginning. He is not overwhelmed 
with the first appearance of insuperable difficulties ; he re- 
ceives some little pay from the first moment of his appren- 
ticeship, and is not compelled to wait for remuneration till 
he is out of his time. The student having acquired the 
great art of understanding the sense of what is written in 
another tongue, may go into the study of the language as 
deeply and extensively as he pleases. The old system aims 
at beginning with a depth and accuracy which many men 
never will want, which disgusts many from arriving even at 
moderate attainments, and is a less easy and not more 
certain road to a profound skill in languages, than if atten- 
tion to grammar had been deferred to a later period. In 
fine, we are strongly persuaded, that, the time being given, 
this system will make better scholars ; and the degree of 
scholarship being given, a much shorter time will be needed. 

If there is any truth in this, it will make Mr. Hamilton one 
of the most useful men of his age ; for if there is any thing 
which fills reflecting men with melancholy and regret, it is 
the waste of mortal time, parental money, and puerile hap- 
piness, in the present method of pursuing Latin and Greek." 
The effect of this critique was to call the attention of 
the public afresh to a subject which had excited a lively 
interest for two years, but which was so hotly opposed 
on the one hand, and so highly applauded on the other, 
that the public found it difficult to form a judgment. 
Much good has, therefore, resulted from it ; but this 
good has not been unmixed with evil. The writer, while 
he defended the barbarisms which appeared in the first 
edition of my Greek Gospel of St. John, which he judged 
essential to the system, supposed that they might be 
remedied by a free translation in addition to the inter- 
lineary one. This unlucky idea, founded on his total 
unacquaintance with the practical part of this mode of 
teaching, induced a number of persons wholly ignorant 
of the system nay, of the very first principles of ana- 
lysis to make these double translations ; but not mak- 
ing either analytical, utterly defeated the object of the 
system, by obliging the pupil often to recur to his dic- 
tionary for the meaning of the word, and to his master 
for the ordo. These books, to render the deception 
complete, have been sold as mine, and have done much 
mischief by being confounded with my system, of which 
they are as distant as the antipodes. I had foreseen 
this 5 but fearing that my attack of what was yet only 
ideal might seem illiberal, I did not allude to it in my 
answer to the Edinburgh Review, which was as follows: 

" Hamiltonian System. To the Editor of the Edinburgh 
Weekly Journal. Sir, The last Number of the Edinburgh 
Review contains so able a defence of this system, that, as 


its author, I think I cannot with propriety delay the public 
expression of my gratitude to the eloquent writer of it. In 
doing this, my intention is not to add any thing to what he 
has said in commendation of the system, but rather to reply 
to those criticisms which a spirit of candour and imparti- 
ality has induced him to make. I regret that I had not an 
opportunity of conversing with him ; it would have been so 
easy to prove to his satisfaction, that the few points on 
which he supposes it deficient or vulnerable, are, in fact, 
abundantly guarded from the inconveniences he fears. And, 
first, as to the mariner in which this system has been 
brought before the public, by ADVERTISING ; this has been 
often attacked by my opposers, and sometimes condemned 
by my friends. My advocate in the Review thinks this cir- 
cumstance ' unfortunate / and I would certainly coincide 
with him in opinion, for it has cost me above one thousand 
pounds, provided he or any other person will point out to 
me any other way under Heaven in which I could have 
brought it forward with the slightest hope of success. Un- 
fortunate, indeed, and painful has it often been to me to pass 
for one hour for a puffer or boaster ; but if a faithful and 
simple representation of my system, if a fair exposition of 
its results, appear incredible or impossible, as they are in 
truth on the common plan, the fault is not in me, but in the 
general ignorance in society of what a right system of teach- 
ing ought to produce. No doubt, if this appearance of 
puffing could have been avoided, it would be desirable ; but 
the mode of avoiding it, without abandoning my profession, 
neither friends nor enemies have yet pointed out. Those 
who think it was only necessary to demonstrate its effects 
to the heads of colleges or schools, to statesmen, clergymen, 
editors, or men of learning generally, in order to have my 
system ushered to the notice of mankind, with all the 
honours which attended inoculation or the vaccine, know 


little of the world, or of the classes of men they speak of; 
they know not the prejudices of education, the force of 
mental habits, of preconceived opinions, of private interests, 
or scholastic pride. If I had not advertised, I should never 
have had a pupil ; and if I had not in my advertisements 
told the infallible result of my lessons, instead of being able 
to count ten thousand pupils formed in ten years, I should 
probably find myself with thirty or forty children in some 
obscure village of the United States. They are, besides, 
widely mistaken, who suppose a system of teaching can be 
formed in one day, and proposed to society in a perfect 
state the next : practice, publicity, experience, opposition, 
rivality, jealousy, discussion, are necessary, absolutely 
necessary> to perfect it, and of those the Hamiltonian System 
has had its full share. When I entered my scholastic career, 
I had one single principle of what has since, by the re-union 
of other principles, become a system. I TAUGHT, instead of 
ordering to learn ; and by the application of this one mighty 
lever, which had lain rusty for centuries, I effected wonders, 
' I raised a world.' This is yet, and ever will be, the basis 
of the Hamiltonian System ; analytical translation, repeti- 
tion, and the other principles which now compose it, being 
but the handmaids of this one mighty but universally neg- 
lected principle. By the use of this one principle, I say, I 
effected a progress, believed, and truly believed, impossible 
on the usual plan, and I published this progress $ but, in 
doing so, I said the truth only ; I appealed continually to 
facts ; I gave not the names of my patrons, but the names 
of my pupils, and at every step invited inquiry, and defied 
investigation. Is this, I ask, puffing or quackery ? If it 
be, tell me what truth and simplicity are, for I know them 
not. But there is another and very simple argument for 
advertising, which is not always taken into account by my 
friends, when they affect to condemn it as unworthy the 


author of an useful discovery ; I had to live by it : it has 
afforded me and my family an honourable support for the 
last ten years ; and I would ask, are there any other terms 
on which society could justly require of me to devote my 
life to the purpose of diffusing the knowledge and the 
benefits of it ? 

" The second objection made by the eloquent advocate 
of my system is, that emulation is discarded from it; * there 
is/ he says, ' no change of seats.' This would be below the 
dignity of the rank and age of my pupils generally, and with 
boys the loss of time would be enormous ; besides, that it 
has been found unnecessary, the delight and surprise of the 
pupil at the perception of his progress at every step, produces 
all the effects of emulation or jealousy in other systems. 
I have known parents, nay, grandfathers and grandmothers, 
enter my classes, expressly stipulating not to be called on to 
recite, before the end of three lessons, become the most 
lively members of the class, and the most zealous co-opera- 
tors in its exercises. 

The third objection is, that I ascribe to one word one 
meaning only. This is a vital principle, absolutely neces- 
sary in all analytical translation. I do not contend for it 
as a theoretic invaluable truth, but as an operative and 
practical principle. I know it has many exceptions, though 
infinitely fewer than is generally supposed, but the principle 
itself must never be lost sight of; it would instantly re- 
plunge the unhappy pupil into the chaotic confusion and 
uncertainties of dictionaries, from which it is the object of 
the Hamiltonian system to rescue him. Jubeo and dolor, 
which the Reviewer quotes as a proof that words may have 
two meanings, do not form exceptions to this principle : to 
command or to order are riot two meanings, but one. Grief 
and sorrow the same - } but if he will look into Ainsworth, 
he will find forjubeo and dolor a number of other forced, 


figurative, or implied meanings for each of these words, 
which, on the principles of my translations, must be utterly 

" The fourth objection, I guarantee the progress of my 
pupils.' This objection has been made for want of accurate 
information relative to the nature of it. . The Reviewer, 
' from experiments and observations which have fallen under 
his own notice/ ASSERTS, that a boy of common capacity, 
and studying four hours a- day, might, on this System, be 
taught the four Gospels in Greek in six weeks ; in Italian 
or French in three ; in German in five. His conviction of 
this- is full and perfect ; why then not GUARANTEE it to the 
timid or cautious father, who pays for this acquirement in 
advance, or to the modest pupil who fears such a progress to 
be beyond his power. But what if he does not attend ? 
What if he be sick, or idle, or stupid ? Here is precisely 
the use of the guarantee give him his lessons over again : 
\this is all I mean. 

" The triumph of the Hamiltonian system is, that, with 
the utmost moral certainty, you- can predict the day, nay, 
the very hour, when a pupil, utterly ignorant of a language, 
shall be able to translate any given easy book in it with a 
correctness of pronunciation, and an accuracy of translation 
and grammatical analysis, which an adept in language may 
equal but not surpass ; and that this day or hour may not 
be at the distance of one year, as would be usually required 
on the common plan, but, with the slightest exertion on the 
part of the pupil and teacher, at the end of one month ! 
and that such is the certainty with which the teacher under- 
takes the task, that he is willing to stake all he possesses, 
his reputation, on the result ; that, in short, he can 
GUARANTEE. I am, with respect, Sir, Your most obe- 
dient Servant, " JAMES HAMILTON. '" 

" Edinburgh, \bth Aug. 18*26'." 

B 5 


Such is the History of the Hamiltonian System, which 
I have brought down to the moment of delivering the 
following Lecture in Liverpool. As it may tend to elu- 
cidate some points in education which I have not before 
treated on, I give it nearly in the words in which I de- 
livered it to one of the smallest audiences I have ever 
addressed. It was, however, delivered in the same room 
in which I had twice before addressed an audience of 
1600 persons; but I had, unluckily, appointed my 
lecture at the same hour when the result of the Catholic 
Bill was expected every moment, and the whole town 
was collected in groups to hear the speech of Mr. Peel on 
this all-absorbing question. 



The opinion that the science of Education has much 
improved within the last thirty years is so general, that 
it will be thought little less than heresy to deny it. It is 
certainly true that an infinitely greater number of 
persons, in proportion to our population, know how to 
read and write at present than before the introduction 
of the Lancasterian System and Sunday Schools. This 
is, so far, a good and happy result ; but this does not 
prove that education as a science, that is, the mode of 
imparting knowledge, more especially that of the Lan- 
guages, has advanced one step, or that the higher classes 
are, in this respect, better educated now than they were 
a century ago. 

There are in this town, as well as in every other of the 


United Kingdom, thousands of persons who bewail their 
own want of literary instruction, which they modestly, 
but erroneously, attribute to their inattention* and idle- 
ness while at school; and who sincerely imagine they 
are taking the necessary steps to obviate so great a mis- 
fortune to their offspring, by sending them to the schools 
where the nobility send theirs, in the fond hope that 
their children will make a better improvement of their 
time and opportunity than they themselves have done. 
But the cause being the same, the result turns out in- 
variably the same. The sons, as the fathers, having 
sacrificed real and useful knowledge to the vain and 
futile advantage of studying Greek and Latin with Lord 
A. and Marquis B., return to the paternal mansion 
almost as empty of either as when they left it. The Lan- 
guages of Greece and Rome are, doubtless, well worth a 
reasonable time spent in the successful study of them; 
but no man in his senses will say that it is a rational 
act of the parent to make his son study these languages 
seven or eight years, with the almost absolute certainty 
that even in that time he will not have obtained such a 
knowledge of them as to render the literature of these 
ancient nations familiar to him : or that even if he did, 
if he learn nothing else, that that literature alone would 
suffice to make him a man of Education, a sound scholar 
of the present day. This is not educating his son, but 
rather insuring, as far as in him lies, his ignorance and 
consequent degradation ; for though the knowledge of 
Greek and Latin does not tend to degradation, per se, 
of itself, yet does it lead infallibly to this result 5 for if 
eight years are given up to this study, and given up ex- 
clusively to it, as is usually the case, our own language, 
containing information infinitely more precious, more 
important, History, Geography, Astronomy, Natural 


History, and Natural Philosophy ; the literature of our 
own and other nations; the knowledge of the produc- 
tions of our own country and of others ; the commercial, 
political, and scientific relations of the different nations 
of the earth with each other ; their manners, habits, 
commerce, customs, religion, and laws, exclusive of the 
liberal sciences, and that fund of indirect information 
which can be acquired by reading, and reading alone, 
must be sacrificed to it ; and yet all these are absolutely 
necessary to constitute a right education, and are in 
themselves a far more essential part of it than Greek 
and Latin. 

As far, therefore, as ignorance can degrade, the un- 
happy student is degraded by such a course, and remains 
for ever degraded, unless at this period of life, that is, 
on his quitting school, he betake himself to the study of 
those objects to which I have above alluded, with tenfold 
more ardour than he has ever studied Greek and Latin ; 
a task of uncommon difficulty in itself, and rendered 
still more difficult by a distaste for learning too fre- 
quently contracted at school, and by the necessity in 
which he now finds himself, to apply his time and talents 
to some professional pursuit, 'on his success in which is 
to depend his ease, affluence, and respectability, his very 
existence in after life 5 and if I grant that many have 
conquered all these difficulties, and have risen to emi- 
" nence, respect, and riches, it must, I think, be conceded 
to me, on the other hand, that thousands in the different 
professions of Divinity, Law, and Physic, victims of the 
system of Education I have here signalized, however 
ardent their endeavours, have been unable to raise them- 
selves to respect or real usefulness, nor would be able to 
procure a subsistence by their profession, if they were 
not assisted by relatives and friends, and often placed 


in positions which render them, in a great measure, inde- 
pendent of those for whom they officiate. 

Still, it must be granted that the Greek and Latin lan- 
guages are so wound up in all our institutions, profes- 
sions, sciences, literature, language, nay, in our very 
religion, customs, conversation, amusements and social 
habits, that no man will be hardy enough to deny 
their overwhelming importance ; and the parent who 
feels this importance, without being sufficiently aware 
of the still greater importance of the other species of 
knowledge to which I have alluded, and not knowing 
how to attain both, consents, however reluctantly, to 
suffer his son to tread the same barren rugged road he 
had himself trodden ; and thus has the work of Educa- 
tion been carried on, by prescription, for the last two 
centuries. But how does the study of Greek and Latin 
cause all this mischief? By the most simple process 
that can be conceived : by taking up all the time of the 
student, and consequently preventing him from READ- 
ING ! READING, whose effects mankind seem to be 
utterly unaware of; READING, the only real the only 
effectual source of instruction ; READING, the pure 
spring of nine-tenths of our intellectual enjoyments, 
the only cure for all our ignorances ; READING, with- 
out which no man ever yet possessed extensive informa- 
tion; READING, which alone constitutes the difference 
between the blockhead and the man of learning ; READ- 
ING, the loss of which no knowledge of Greek particles, 
nor the most intimate acquaintance with the rules of 
syntax and prosody, will ever be able to compensate 3 
READING, the most valuable gift of the Divinity, has 
been sacrificed to the acquirement of what never con- 
stituted real learning, and which constitutes it now less 
than ever 5 and to the contemptible vanity of being sup- 
posed a classical scholar, often without the shadow of a 


title to it. That this picture is not charged, I would 
appeal to the experience of almost every man capable of 
understanding me, to every man whose position in 
society has given him an opportunity of knowing those 
who compose it : I would appeal to the minister of the 
Gospel, the physician, the lawyer, the gentleman. I 
would entreat every parent to inquire into its truth, 
before it be too late to prevent its baneful effects upon 
his offspring. 

READING is, then, often thousand-fold the importance 
of any other science, because it is the mother of them 
all j and as it must not be sacrificed to Greek or Latin, 
so neither should it be sacrificed to any thing else. No- 
thing can, in any case, be substituted for it : it is the milk 
of the intellectual child ; it is the solid nourishment of 
the grown man ; it is the wine of old age. It must not, 
therefore, be sacrificed in childhood to spelling, to en- 
deavouring to recite, to speak, or to read with propriety ; 
because, to read with propriety before we have acquired 
a considerable fund of knowledge and experience of life, 
is impossible and useless. Neither should it be sacrificed 
to grammar or composition, nor to getting by heart any 
thing whatever, because these are utterly unattainable be- 
fore we have read a great deal; nor to writing, for years, 
large hand, in order to be able to write small ; to arith- 
metic, at an age when it is wholly useless j nor to the 
thousand other contrivances which it would seem that the 
enemy of mankind could alone have put into the heads 
of" school-masters, to prevent the child from READING, 
that is, from learning any thing, and thus keep him, like 
another Sisyphus, the whole time of his scholastic life, 
rolling up the stone of science all the day, to see it roll 
down every night, and then be obliged every morning to 
renew the disgusting task. 

As reading is the source of all real instruction, as is 


self-evident to any man who reflects on the subject ; so 
it is also the sole the only means by which the words 
of a dead language can be acquired. It is inconceivable 
that those persons, whose business is the instruction of 
others in the languages, should not have found out this 
obvious truth, that to speak or write a language, we must 
know it by heart; and that so far as we know it in this 
manner, so far reaches the copiousness, harmony, and 
variety of our style in speaking or in writing, and no 
farther ! 

The man whohas not learned to read, knows only those 
words which he has learned in conversation; his voca- 
bulary is smaller than can well be imagined, still how- 
ever, proportioned and analogous to the company he has 
kept. But to write and speak with any pretensions to 
purity, or elegance, or variety of style, we must have read 
read a great deal, and good authors. The first book 
a man reads impresses on his mind and memory a num- 
ber of words he either knew not before, or knew so im- 
perfectly that he did not dare to use them ; every suc- 
ceeding book augments this number, and with' it forms 
gradually his judgment as to their fitness, singly or col- 
lectively. No man has ever yet become a critic with 
regard to language no man has ever written or spoken 
with elegance and propriety, by any other means. 

Now if this be correct with regard to our own lan- 
guage, how much more demonstrably correct is it with 
regard to a foreign idiom, in which we derive no assist- 
ance from conversation ? Here reading must do the 
whole j and here precisely it is that we are prevented 
from reading by our masters, and directed to obtain a 
knowledge of the language by grammatical rules, by 
philological criticisms, in the study of which we remain 
occupied till we have no longer time to study at all ; till 


we are called to take an active part in the duties of life. 
I am conscious that I shall be thought verbose and dif- 
fuse on this subject: "It is ridiculous," exclaims the 
critic, " to tell us so much of the utility of READING ; 
we all feel and know it." I beg your pardon, sir, not 
one in a thousand of those for whom I write, know or 
feel that the words of a language are to be got by read- 
ing only : if they did, they would practise it for them- 
selves and prescribe it to others, instead of giving them 
a dictionary for that purpose. 

Still, I have admitted the absolute necessity of acquir- 
ing the Greek and Latin languages, and the Greek and 
Latin languages are the cause of all the evil : how are 
we to get over this difficulty? how remedy the evil with- 
out putting away the cause ? for, if we study them as 
we have hitherto done, there is no time for reading 
what, then, is to be done? STUDY THEM ON A DIF- 
FERENT PLAN, if such a plan exists ; and if it does not, 
seek and find one. BUT IT DOES EXIST : its existence 
is demonstrated by evidence as clear as light ; it can be 
denied by none ; it can be doubted only by the man who 
has never inquired. Yes, the Latin and Greek lan- 
guages, instead of occupying eight or ten years' disgusting 
labour, may be acquired without difficulty, nay, with 
interest and delight, and with them a fund of that infor- 
mation which I have above signalized as more valuable 
than they, from the reading of the authors in every branch 
of literature found in these languages, all may, I say, 
be acquired with infallible certainty in eighteen months 
or two years ; and will thus, instead of being a hinderance 
to real and useful information, constitute in themselves 
the most important and useful portion of it. The know- 
ledge of them, instead of being confined to the Fellows 
of Colleges, will be found, where they ought to be found, 
in the study of the Lawyer, the Physician, and the Apo- 


thecary, in the connting-house of the Merchant, in the 
parlour of every private Gentleman ; every man of Edu- 
cation will possess them really, instead of possessing, 
as is now usuallythe case, the unmerited reputation of 
knowing them. 

I shall now enter into the details of the easy and 
pleasing system I propose : in doing this, it will not be 
required of me that I should enter into the proof of every 
fact I advance. The Hamiltonian System has been now 
before the public for many years ; its Author has not 
been content with explaining it in every city of the 
United Kingdom, but has taught many thousands of 
pupils, and proclaimed their progress to the world ; every 
where inviting the investigation of its friends, and defy- 
i ng the scrutiny of its enemies ; every where appealing 
to the testimony of his pupils, whose patronage alone 
he has ever sought or obtained. His books have now 
an extensive circulation. They are known on the Con- 
tinent of Europe under the name of "Systeme Naturel;" 
they are used in Calcutta, the United States, and the 
West Indies ; and they have been counterfeited in Eng- 
land by numbers, who imagined they were writing on 
the Hamiltonian System, when they were only taking 
the pupil back to the justly- scouted translations of 
Locke, of Clarke,, of Stirling, and, in our own days, of ^ 
' f the followers of Dumarsais ; who, not perceiving the 
difference between interlinear and analytical translations, 
have given false and incorrect translations interlineally. 7" 
They have, at least, rendered homage to the merits of 
that system which they attempted thus to appropriate 
to themselves. But I come to my exposition, and ask 
pardon for this long introduction. 

It has been supposed that there are in the Greek and 
Latin, if not in all other languages, certain fixed stamina, 


certain fundamental rules or principles, the preliminary 
knowledge of which is absolutely necessary to the ac- 
quirement of the language itself. These soi-disant funda- 
mental rules and principles are collected into what is 
called a Grammar (a book, I believe, utterly unknown 
to the Greeks and Romans), and put into the hands of 
every student (not, indeed, to study or to comprehend, 
that would be impossible), but to get by heart, before he 
is permitted to translate ; at first sight, it appears the 
most inconceivable folly, to study the rules by which 
the words of a language are connected, with their deri- 
vation and declension, before we know their meaning. 
But the object of getting the Grammar by heart is not, 
as is usually supposed, to give the student a critical, a 
grammatical knowledge of the language 5 such an idea, 
at the outset of his labours, would be altogether pre- 
posterous, but it is TO ENABLE HIM TO LOOK FOR HIS 

WORDS IN THE DICTIONARY ! Thus, if the boy were 
put to translate the words da rnihi panem, without this 
preliminary knowledge, as the Dictionary only contains 
the root of each of these words, do, ego and panis, he 
would not be able to find them. He must first know 
how to conjugate the verb, do, that is, to use it in all its 
moods, tenses, and persons, and to decline the pronoun 
ego, and the noun panis, that is, to use them in all their 
cases, before he can look for their meaning. 

He has thus really to learn the language twice first, 
etymologically, in order to be able to use his Dictionary 3 
and, secondly, by the help of his Dictionary, to learn the 
meaning of words. The first is a Herculean labour, and 
such as assuredly no ancient Greek or Roman ever 
attempted. The latter is rendered inconceivably te- 
dious and difficult, by the use he is obliged to make of 
this Dictionary, in which a number (often from ten to 


thirty) of implied, forced, or figurative meanings are 
mixed up with the one true and literal meaning of the 
word, among which the inexperienced student is ordered 
to find or guess at the right ; to this, add the difficulty 
of the ordo of this foreign idiom, the necessity imposed 
on him of parsing every word, that is, shewing its ac- 
cordance with rules, and exceptions to rules, of which 
neither Homer nor Virgil ever heard, and that seem in- 
vented only to vex and torment, and prevent the pro- 
gress of the unhappy pupil. 

I wish not to hurt the feelings of any man, much less 
to satirize one of the most useful and respectable pro- 
fessions in society, in thus describing the process of ac- 
quiring these languages. The heads of schools know 
this account to be exact, and every man who has 
learned, or at least studied, these languages, knows it to 
be exact. But the present teachers are not the authors 
of the present system of the school : they teach as 
thousands of the best and wisest of mankind have taught 
before them, and as they were taught themselves : many 
have already adopted, in whole or in part, the Hamil- 
tonian System, and many are yet unacquainted with it. 
Let us wait to condemn till they refuse to adopt a better 
mode, fairly demonstrated to be truly such. Meantime, 
I appeal to their testimony, that the pupil is occupied 
many months, and sometimes years, not in studying, 
but in learning to study , in acquiring, not the words of 
the language, but the power of acquiring them. And 
when, at length, he has acquired that power, the mode 
in which he is obliged to use it is arduous in the extreme; 
and if we add to this the idea of coercion, the non- 
perception of his progress, and the disgust arising from 
such an apparently useless and endless labour, we ought 
not to be surprised that so many years are thus spent 


in the acquirement of a very imperfect knowledge of 
six or seven authors ; and that it then rarely happens 
that the pupil would be able to read with pleasure, or 
to understand without considerable labour and the help 
of a dictionary, an author which he had not thus previ- 
ously fagged over for many months. The above is the 
chief hinderance to the success of our Education. See 
the easy and effectual process by which it is obviated. 

Give the pupil, instead of a Grammar and Dictionary 
on the common plan, a Dictionary for every Book he reads, 
comprehending not simply the roots of the words, but 
every word ; let such a Dictionary point out the mood, 
tense, and person of every verb, the case of every noun, 
furnish a perfect analysis of the phrase and of every 
word in it, so that the pupil shall not only be able to 
translate his book with infallible certainty in the tenth 
part of the time hitherto requisite, but be able, at the 
same time, to parse it, that is, to have a perfect know- 
ledge of its Grammar also. Now this Dictionary is 
precisely a Hamiltonian Translation ! take the following 

ST. MATTHEW, Chapter viii. 

5. Ei<7eX0oVn $e CLVTW E\Q Kawepvaovp., TrpoffrjXdev avroj 
arorrap^oQ Trapa/caAwv CLVTOV* 

6. Kat \syit)v' Kv'jOte, 6 TTCUC, JJLOV /3e\r;rat iv rrj om'a 

7. Kat \eyet avVw 6 'IrjcrovQ' 'Eyw eXdwv SepaTrevffw CLVTOV. 

5. Ae avrw elffeXOorn (2. aor.) elg 

5. And to him having entered into Capernaum, 

eKaroirap^og TrpocrrjXOev (2. a-) aiVw, TrapaKaXwv CLVTOV, 

a centurion came to to him, praying him, 


6. Kcu XeywV Kvpie, 6 TTCUQ fjLov 

6. And saying, O Lord, the child of me has been cast 

iv rrj olidq, TrapaXvTiKog, detvtig j3a 

in the house paralytic, dreadfully tormented. 

7. Kat 6 'Irjffovg Xeygi avYw* 'Eya> eXOui' (2. a.) 
7. And the Jesus says to him, I having come 

will heal him. 



VIR quidam peregrinatus, deinde in suam patriam re- 
versus, aliaque multa in diversis viriliter gessisse locis 
jactabat, atque etiam Rhodi saltasse saltum, quern nullus 
ejus loci potuerit saltare ; ad hoc et testes, qui ibi inter- 
fuerunt, dicebat se habere. Quidam autem ex iis, qui 
aderant, respondens ait ; Heus tu, si verum hoc est, non 
est tibi opus testibus : En Rhodus ; en et saltus. 


Fabula significat, nisi prompta rei demonstrate sit, 
omnem sermonem supervaciium esse. 


The Boaster. 

QUIDAM vir peregrinatus, deinde 

A certain man having travelled-abroad, afterwards 

reversus in suam patriam, jactabat que 

having returned into his own country, did boast both 

gessisse multa alia viriliter in 

to have performed many other (things) manfully in 

diversis locis, atque etiam saltasse (saltavisse) 

different places, and also to have leaped 


saltum Rhodi, 

a leap of (at) Rhodes, 

potuerit saltare 

may have been able to leap J 

hahere testes ad 

to have witnesses to 




respondens ait, 
answering says, 

est non 
(there) is not 

Rhodus : en 
Rhodes : behold 

Heus ! 

nullus ejus loci 
no-one of that place 

dicebat se 

he did say himself 

were present 

were present 




hoc, qui 

this, (those) who 

ex us qui 

out of those who 

tu, si hoc 
thou, if this 

tibi testibus : 

to thee with witnesses : 

et saltus. 

and (also) the leap. 






Fabula significat, nisi prompta demonstrate 

The Fable signifies, unless a ready demonstration 

rei sit, omnem sermonem esse supervacuum. 

of a thing may be, every speech to be superfluous. 


Es war einmahl eine zahlreiche Familie, die aus kleinen 
und grossen Leuten bestand. Diese waren theils durch die 
Bande der Natur, theils durch wechselseitige Liebe genau 
vereiniget. Der Hausvater and die Hausmutter liebten 
Alle, wie ihre eigenen Kinder, ungeachtet nur Lotte, die 
kleinste von Allen, ihre leibliche Tochter war; und zwei 
Freunde des Hauses, R und B , thaten dasselbe. Ihr 
Auferithalt war auf dem Lande, nahe vor den Thoren von 


Es war einmahl eine zahlreiche Familie, 

There was once a numerous family, 

lie bestand aus kleinen und grossen Leuten. 
vhich consisted out of little and great people. 

Diese waren genau vereiniget, theils durch die 
These were closely united) partly through the 

Sande der Natur, theils durch wechselseitige 
mnds of the nature, partly through mutual 

Liebe. Der Hausvater und die Hausmutter liebten 
ove. The housefather and the housemother loved 

ille, wie ihre eigenen Kinder, ungeachet nur 
ill, as their own children, although only 

Lotte, die kleinste von Allen war ihre leibliche 
Charlotte, the least of all was their bodily 

Fochter, und zwei Freunde des Hauses, R und 
laughter, and two friends of the house, R and 

B , thaten dasselbe. Ihr Aufenthalt war auf 
B , did the same. Their residence was upon 

lem Lande, nahe vor den -Thoren von 

L o the country, near before to the gates of 





UN Pescatore avendo preso in mare un picciolo pesce, 
sso lo voleva persuadere che gli desse liberta, dicendo : lo 
ono or si piccolo ch' io ti faro poco pro ; ma se tu mi lasci 
mdare, io crescero, e tu mi prenderai poi quando io saro 
>rande, e cosi di me avrai maggior frutto. A cui il pesca- 
:ore disse : io sarei ben pazzo, se quel guadagno ch' io ho 
presentemente nelle mani, avvegna che sia piccolo, io il 
lasciassi per isperanza di guadagno futuro, ancor che fosse 



The Fisher and the little Fish. 

UN Pescatore avendo preso in mare un picciolo pesce, 
A Fisher having taken in sea a little fish., 

esso voleva persuadere lo che desse 

he did will to persuade him that he might give 

gli liberta, dicendo ; lo sono ora si piccolo che io 
to him liberty, saying I am now so little that I 

faro ti poco pro ; ma se tu lasci mi 
shall do to thee little profit j but if thou lettest me 

andare, io crescero, e tu prenderai mi poi 

to go, I shall increase, and thou will take me then 

quando io saro grande, e cosi avrai 

when I shall be big, and thus thou wilt have 

maggiore frutto di me. A cui il pescatore disse ; 
greater fruit of me. To whom the fisher said; 

io sarei ben-pazzo, se quel guadagno che 
I should be very-foolish, if that gain which 

io ho presentemente nelle mani, avvegna-che 
/ have at-present in the hands, although 

sia piccolo, io lasciassi il per speranza di 

it may be little, I might leave it for hope of 

futuro guadagno, ancora-che fosse grande. 

future gain, although it might be great. 



UN gland, tombe d'un chene, vit a ses cotes un cham- 
pignon. Faquin, lui dit-il, quelle est ta hardiesse d' appro cher 
si pres de tes superieurs? Race de fumier ! comment oses- 
tu lever la tete dans une place ennoblie par mes ancetres 
depuis tant de generations? Ne sais-tu pas qui jesuis? 


Illustre seigneur, dit le champignon, je vous connais par- 
faitement bien, et vos ancetres aussi : je ne pretends pas 
vous disputer 1'honneur de votre naissance, ni la comparer 
avec la mienne ; au contraire, j'avoue que je sais a peine 
d'ou je suis venu ; mais j'ai des qualit6s que vous n*avez 
pas 5 je flatte le palais des hommes, et je donne un fumet 
delicieux aux viandes les plus exquises et les plus dedicates : 
au lieu que vous, avec tout 1'orgueil de vos ancetres et de 
votre extraction, vous n'etes propre qu' engraisser des 


On asouvent reproehe a 1' auteur du systeme Hamiltonien 
son defaut de titres il n'est ni reverend, ni docteur, ni pro- 
fesseur! il n'est rien ! d 5 accord mais ses traductions 
sont bonnes servons-nous en. 


The Mushroom and the Acorn. 

UN gland, tombe d'un chene, vit a ses cotes 
An acorn, fallen from an oak, saw to his sides 

un champignon. Faquin, dit-il lui, quelle est ta 
a mushroom. Scoundrel, said he to him, what is thy 

hardiesse d' approcher si pres de tes superieurs? 
boldness of to approach so near of thy superiors ? 

Race de futnier! comment oses-tu lever la tete 
Race of dunghill ! how darest thou to raise the head 

dans une place ennoblie par mes ancetres depuis 
in a place ennobled by my ancestors since 

tant f de generations? Sais-tu qui je suis? 

50 many of generations ? Knowest thou who I am ? 

Illustre seigneur, dit le champignon, je connais 
Illustrious lord, said the mushroom, I know 

vous parfaitement bien, et vos ancetres aussi : je 
you perfectly well, and your ancestors also: I 


pretends ne-pas disputer vous 1* honneur de votre 
pretend not to dispute to you the honour of your 

naissance, ni comparer la avec la mienne ; au 
birth, nor to compare it with the mine j to the 

contraire, j* avoue que je sais a-peine d'ou je 
contrary, I confess that I know scarcely whence I 

suis venu ; mais j* ai des qualites que vous avez 
am come ; but I have of the qualities that you have 

n'pas ; je flatte le palais des homines, et je donne 
not; I flatter the palate of the men, and I give 

mi delicieux fumet aux viandes les plus exquises 
a delicious flavour to the meats the most exquisite 

et les plus dedicates, au lieu que vous, avec 
owe? the most delicate, to the place that you, with 

tout T orgueil de vos ancetres et de votre 
all the pride of your ancestors and of your 

extraction, vous tes propre ne-qu' a engraisser des 
extraction, you are proper but to fatten of the 



On a souvent reproche a P auteur da 
One has often reproached to the author of the 

Hamiltonien Systeme son defaut de titres il est n' 
Hamiltonian System his want of titles he is not 

ni reverend, ni docteur, ni professeur il est n'rien ! 
nor reverend, nor doctor, nor professor he is nothing ! 

d' accord! mais ses traductions sont bonnes. Servons 
agreed ! but- his translations are good. Let us serve 

nous en. 

ourselves of them. 

Now, as far as translation goes, I would ask what can 
the student possibly wish for more than he has here the 
precise (not implied, not forced, not figurative) meaning 


f each word, so that he shall know that meaning wher- 
ver he may hereafter meet it, and however connected ; 
he ordo, or order, pointing out the grammatical analysis 
f the phrase ; the case of every noun and adjective ; the 
riood, tense, and person of every verb, by appropriate 
nd unchanging signs ? I repeat my question : as far as 
perfect translation goes, what more can be required or 
/ished for than is here given ? The experience of twelve 
ears, arid as many thousand pupils, enables me to reply 
riumphantly, "Nothing." But for the Latin, the Gospel 
f St. John, the Epitome Historian Sacrae, the Fables of 
Esop, Eutropius, Aurelius Victor, Phaedrus, each perfect 
vith analytical translations, at four shillings each; 
Cornelius Nepos, six shillings and sixpence; Comrnen- 
aries of Ca3sar, seven shillings and sixpence ; Selectae 
: Profanis, 2 vols. ten shillings ; Sallust, seven shil- 
ings and sixpence ; the Metamorphoses of Ovid, 
leven shillings and sixpence ; and six books of Virgil, 
ire already published, and some of them have passed 
hrough several editions ; in all thirteen volumes, a 
greater number than are ever read (even in part) in 
schools. But, it will be asked, Are not several of these 
mthors nearly of the same facility, and may not some 
)f them be omitted without loss ? Those who make this 
nquiry have forgotten all I have said of the necessity of 
eading : every one of them should be read ; and I would 
lave published still more of them, did I not know that 
he student who has a perfect knowledge of these thir- 
;een volumes will be able to read, with facility and plea- 
sure Cicero, Seneca, Horace, Terence, 'Li vy, or any 
)ther classical author ; but I would not answer for his 
3eing able to do so before he shall have read them all. 
Ill the above authors have the penultima marked when 
it is short ; when it is not marked, it is long 5 and thus, 
c 3 


by this easy contrivance, the practical, and consequent- 
ly useful, part of prosody, is acquired, without costing 
the pupil a moment's study, and without fear of hi& 
making a false quantity in reading. Each of these 
volumes can (with delight and interest) be acquired by 
the pupil in four or five weeks, and even sooner, if it be 
thought necessary that he should devote his whole time 
to this study. In fifteen months he will be able to take 
up any one of them and read it with ease and pleasure, 
and a perfect intelligence of every word. And to ac- 
complish this unspeakably happy revolution, no effort is 
required on the part of the teacher ; the constitution of 
his school remains the same ; he has no more trouble, 
nay, infinitely less, than he had before. He prescribes 
a task as before, but a pleasing and an intelligible one j 
the pupil acquires it with facility, not a dozen or twenty 
lines merely, but from five to ten pages. The master is now 
no longer dreaded, and treated as an enemy ; he is loved 
and cherished as a friend. Here is no need of coercion ; 
what is so easy to be acquired, is acquired by the pupil 
from the desire to fulfil his duty, or at least to avoid 
being thought stupid or idle by his fellows. This will 
leave him time for every other useful and pleasing study; 
especially READING in his own language, or in some 
other modern language, the French, Italian, or German, 
for which books are prepared on the same plan, and 
which the pupil may learn to read in a few months with 
as much pleasure .as English. Here then is the plan 
which conciliates and renders rational the study of Latin 
and Greek, because on this plan alone is the success cer- 
tain, and the time devoted to it not extravagant. 

But there are two objections to this improvement : first, 
this mode will not teach him grammar! Those who make 
this objection cannot see the wood for trees ! to analyze 


a phrase word for word, to translate it by corresponding 
parts of speech, and to point out the grammatical con- 
struction of the phrase the mutual dependance of all 
the words of a sentence on each other, is not this the 
very essence of grammar ? Could Horace or Virgil do 
more ? Ay, but the rules ? Horace and Virgil knew 
none of these rules. But the examiners at the Univer- 
sity do, and insist on the knowledge of them, though 
they do not insist on an extensive knowledge of the 
meaning of words. I am sorry for it ; but let us see if 
we cannot satisfy them : when the pupil has read with 
that degree of accuracy which constitutes the very 
essence of the Hamiltonian System, the thirteen volumes 
above-mentioned, or even half of them, give him an Eton 
Grammar, let him read it over with attention ; give 
him Clarke's Introduction to the making of Latin ; let 
him read the rules in both with attention, and let his 
master prescribe the study which may be necessary for 
him to satisfy his superiors -, a few days will abundantly 
suffice for the purpose. I would, however, guard him 
against the positive errors of both the futility of several 
of Clarke's rules, the extreme complexity of others. I 
would caution him against the signs of the tenses given 
in the Eton Grammar, of which scarcely one is right, 
Take an example of one grossly wrong : the sign of the 
potential mood is may or can; now I defy the most learn- 
ed friend of this establishment to form a single phrase in 
English in which the word can is the sign of a time. But 
all this is straying from my subject : I meant to shew 
that when the boy can read and understand a Latin au- 
thor with facility, the master will be at liberty to make 
him as profound a grammarian as the author of the Her- 
mes, if he please, and that without the expence of more 
than one week. 


The second objection is, the translation is in bad Eng- 
lish, following the idiom of the Latin language, and not 
that of his own ; the pupil will therefore contract the ha- 
bit of speaking bad English : an objection as rational as 
the former. To speak or write good English, we must 
converse with those, whether living or dead, who speak 
or write it well: if we do this (and we must do it in order 
to have any just pretensions to a liberal education), there 
is no fear that, in common discourse or writing, we shall 
substitute the barbarisms of a foreign idiom for that 
purity of diction and style which is acquired by reading 
the classical authors of our own country. There has 
hitherto been no instance of such an anomaly, and never 
will while the world lasts. 

But there is one more objection, and though last, not, 
perhaps, the least important: will not the introduction of 
this system destroy our schools ? If fifteen months suf- 
fice for the Latin, how can the teacher count, as at present, 
on keeping the pupil four or five years ? The time for the 
reception of instruction, as marked out by nature, can- 
not be changed by any change in the mode of communi- 
cating that instruction ; the difference will be, that the 
student will quit his school an accomplished scholar and 
a well-informed gentleman ; and that the certainty of 
arriving at this desired point (a certainty which never 
before existed) will induce thousands to give their chil- 
dren a classical education (because it will be as cheap as 
any other), who on the present system would never have 
thought of it; so that the adoption of this system will 
fill the schools instead of emptying them ; will double the 
number of pupils instead of lessening it. 

The opposition this system has every where met with 
from school-masters, so singularly contrasted with its 
enthusiastic reception from all those who have had an 


opportunity of witnessing its effects, can only arise either 
from the fears to which I have above alluded, that its 
introduction would prove injurious to their schools, or 
from the idea that its advantages are really chimerical 
that I really do not teach Grammar ; that Grammar is 
inconsistent with the System. To this I think -I have 
already given a sufficient answer. But though experience 
and reflection have taught me thus to judge of Grammar, 
I do not pretend that other men should see with my eyes. 
I think that the theory of Grammar should be taught 
only when the pupil can read the language, and under- 
stand at least an easy book in it. Thousands more"*-* 
learned than I, think it should precede the study of the 
language. Well, let those who are of the former opinion 
teach as I do, and those who are of the latter, make the 
boy study his Grammar three or six months. But after 
this suffer him to use a translation, not such as has often 
been scouted from our schools, but a grammatical, an 
analytical translation j the loss then will only be the first 
six months, if even that, and the remaining progress of 
the pupil such as I have here described it ; it will be 
such as to be practically and really useful to the boy, 
fulfilling really the designs of the parent. 

Before I conclude this lecture, let me entreat the 
School-master to reflect whether it may not be his in- 
terest to adopt the mode of tuition here proposed to him 
voluntarily, rather than have it forced on him by the una- 
nimous voice of society for indubitably one of these 
things must be the necessary and immediate result of the 
impulse now given to Education throughout the civi- 
lized world. Mankind are anxious for real knowledge, 
and will not much longer put up with the shadow of 
it. Either the Teacher will find out a mode of communi- 
cating a knowledge of the learned languages in a shorter 


time/and more efficaciously, than has been hitherto done, 
or the study of these languages will be relinquished al- 
together. If another mode be not taken to acquire La- 
tin and Greek, our new Universities will be of no avail. 
This mode is here offered ; it has been proved by above 
20,000 examples. Its theory is as rational as its practice 
is successful. The Classical Teacher has already made 
a sufficient stand for the customs of his forefathers. It 
is time to yield to the united voice of reason, truth, and 
nature of good sense and common honesty ; for I will 
ask the Clergyman, the honest, conscientious School- 
master, if he can continue to make his pupil wade 
through Grammars, Exercise Books, and Dictionaries 
for years, for the attainment of what I have here proved 
.may be obtained by a far easier, more certain, more ef- 
fectual, more pleasing mode, in a few months ? The an- 
swer is obvious ; it will be that of an honest man, he will 
try the Hamiltonian System ; and, in trying it, will give 
it fair play, and use, not the books of disingenuous and ig- 
norant interlopers, but those of the author of the system. 
Thus have acted the heads of the highly respectable 
schools of Hazelwood and Bruce Castle, which I have had 
pleasure in recommending to those who have done me 
the honour of consulting me on this subject. Thus has 
acted the Rev. W. Stevens, of Maidstone, whose 
pamphlet on the success ,of the experiments made on 
this system, in his Establishment, will be read with in- 
terest and pleasure by all who are in earnest for the dif- 
fusion of knowledge. 

After I had given this pamphlet to the press, the 
Westminster Review for April has appeared, with a long 
and able article on this system. The writer appears to 


have had a better opportunity of witnessing its effects 
than the writer in the Edinburgh Review. He analyses 
it with talent and interest, and proves, by a strict philo- 
sophical anatomy of its principles, first, " that there is 
power enough in the system to produce all the effects 
which are said to be accomplished by it" and, secondly, 
4< that there is evidence enough to prove that these results 
are actually effected by it." 

It is not a little singular that these eloquent friends of 
the Hamiltonian System condemn alike the mode in 
which it has been offered to the British public ; and, ap- 
parently, on account of that mode, which they, however, 
acknowledge was unavoidable, and, without the slightest 
personal knowledge of me, think it useful to their argu- 
ment to speak of me with the least, possible degree of 
courtesy that one gentleman (if they will allow me that 
title) can speak of another. This good, however, results 
from this, it will not be thought that these articles were 
written to please me far less that I paid for them. This 
writer thinks it necessary to intimate that he thinks my 
talents, whether natural or acquired, of a very humble 
order. But is not this a singular reproach to the author 
of a system which he signalizes with so much talent, as 
' being a most extraordinary improvement on any plan which 
the ingenuity of the human mind had hitherto devised ?" Is 
it not, I say, a singular reproach to make, " that 1 have 
done it without talent ?" You have won the battle, routed 
the enemy, and after a twelve years' struggle, silenced 
your adversaries, and put a successful end to the war ; 
but you have no claim to personal respect or consideration 
we are under no obligation to you, as you never com- 
manded more than a few thousand men ! Might I not 
thus successfully retort ? Without talent, without learn- 
ing, without wealth, without name ; an obscure individual; 
c 5 


as these gentlemen are pleased to represent me ; after 
having passed five and twenty years, not in my study, 
but in my counting-house, I have accomplished what 
Locke and Milton, and Dumarsais, and a number of other 
wise and good men, have acknowledged and deplored the 
want of for centuries ; namely, a rational and efficient 
system of Education, which they have attempted to supply, 
and failed in doing ; and I have accomplished this with- 
out being indebted to these writers, or any other for a 
single principle of my system, for a single idea. Go, you 
gentlemen of wealth and learning, you men of connexions 
and talents, you men who have your rulers for your pa- 
trons, and can wield all the influence of the Edinburgh 
and Westminster Reviews, go and do something great 
and good and useful, in proportion to the magnitude of 
your means when compared with mine ; and, in the mean 
time, while you render a service to your generation, and, 
I trust, to every succeeding one, in pointing out the utility 
of the Hamiltonian System to teachers and parents, do 
not point the finger of scorn at the author, or deprive him 
of the merit, as well as the profit, of his invention do 
not neutralize all you have said of good and useful in the 
system, by giving your countenance to books utterly at 
variance with that system, contemptible, in a literary point 
of view, false and incorrect, as Hamiltonian ; and which, 
by the most disingenuous manoeuvres, have been sold in 
every part of the kingdom as the production of the 
author of the Hamiltonian System. I do not believe 
there was any intention of this kind in the mind of the 
writer of the article in question ; but as it mentions but 
few of the books published by me, the series of which 
constitutes the very essence of the system when applied 
to schools, his remarks may do the same mischief that 
those of the Edinburgh Review effected, by dividing the 


attention of the Teacher, and leading him to believe that 
any other book may do as well as mine, and that he rnay 
deviate widely from the system with impunity. This 
idea, and the wish to amalgamate other systems with it, 
has not hitherto given the system fair play, especially in 
the hands of inexperienced persons, who have not con- 
descended to consult the author himself, upon whom, 
however, falls infallibly the blame of failure in every ex- 
periment made, whether on the Hamiltonian System, or 
in opposition to all its dictates and principles. 

Upon the whole, I think the system much indebted to 
the writer of this article. He has not only generally 
given a faithful analysis of the system and its necessary 
results, but he has actually forestalled, as my readers will 
perceive, much of what I have here written ; which he 
was enabled to do by his having in his hands the second 
edition of the essay written in New York, to introduce 
my mode of teaching, as detailed in the beginning of this 
pamphlet an advantage which I had not myself. The 
writer is, therefore, entitled to the homage of my grati- 
tude, which I most sincerely and respectfully offer him j 
with the reserve, however, of one or two passages, to 
which I think it necessary briefly to reply. 

Five persons are by no means the best possible number 
for a class. A man totally inept in the mode of teaching 
on this system could alone have given such information 
to this writer. I have never had better classes, public 
or private, than those which counted from fifty to one 
hundred members ; never had any whose exercises were 
more interesting and pleasing to each particular member, 
nor in which a better progress has been made ; while, 
at the same time, the incorrigibly idle, the really occu- 
pied, those obliged frequently to be absent, can get a 
fund of useful instruction without being exposed to the 


criticism of a private class, because they may be silent. 
It is truly wonderful that this enlightened critic should 
have overlooked one of the greatest advantages of the 
system that which decides more distinctly than any 
other its superiority over the Lancasterian System, that 
here, monitors are superfluous ; instead of a dozen boy- 
ish and ignorant teachers, one able professor teaches the 
whole teaches with the same facility as many as can 
conveniently hear him. 

The Reviewer does me injustice, though I hope and 
believe involuntarily, when he remarks, that ' ' when Mr. 
Hamilton speaks of a language being to be acquired in 
so many hours, the number stated by him is not the true 
number required to be a proficient in the tongue 5 to 
these must, in all fairness, be added the number spent 
in reading in private." Now, I have never used such 
language as is here imputed to me. I have never^, 
either in my lectures or advertisements, asserted that a 
language was to be learnt in any number of hours, nor used 
any phrase corresponding to it - y nor ever held out such 
an idea to my pupils or the public. I have, on the con- 
trary, in every public lecture, without, I believe, one excep- 
tion, made use of language tantamount to this " Ladies 
and gentlemen, if you will do me the honour to become 
my pupils, I will guarantee that you shall be-able to read 
a French book with facility in two or three sections -, but 
if, when you have acquired that faculty, you should not 
be disposed to read, then do not come to me for the two 
latter sections, for I can neither teach you to write nor 
speak." I appeal to every pupil I have ever taught for 
the correctness of this statement, and whether I have 
not constantly held the same language ; and yet, strange 
to say, I begin to doubt I fear to mention it, before the 
the thing has been fully authenticated by repeated ex- 


periments, I say, I fear to mention the possibility of 
teaching a person to write and speak who may have read 
only my three class books, the Gospel of St. John, Perrin, 
and the Recueil Choisi ; but the continuance of the im- 
provement in speaking and writing of several members 
of my public class at present in Manchester,who, I know, 
have never read more than those books, and perhaps not 
all those, becomes every day more striking and astonish- 
ing. To read is, as I have so often said, the secret to 
know all things ; and among them it is, above all, the 
only secret to acquire the words of a language; but if 
the class be rightly and diligently exercised in the use of 
the verbs, as I have already mentioned, after the know- 
ledge only of the class books, I believe it an indubitable 
and pleasing truth, that he may get the use of the smallest 
possible vocabulary in writing and speaking. But this 
vocabulary can only be acquired by the use of the books 
in question, for they alone give the precise meaning of 
the word -, nor would a vocabulary acquired on the com- 
mon plan ever produce such a result. 

To conclude. The Hamiltonian System has now 
passed through as severe an ordeal to test its practica- 
bility and usefulness, as perhaps any other invention 
which can be mentioned. Opposed, step by step, during 
twelve years, by those who might justly be supposed the 
best qualified to judge of its merits, it has triumphed 
over all opposers, and diffuses its benign and genial in- 
fluence gradually through the minds of those who once 
opposed it with violence. It may, therefore, be now used 
in schools or private teaching, in the same manner as 
any other system which preceded it, without subjecting 
the teacher to those rules which the author thought ne- 
cessary to prescribe to himself. 

Let, then, the teacher apply the system diligently and 


honestly ; but, having done so, he ought not to be obliged 
to guarantee any thing. The pupil who will attend, who 
will read, will not the less make the utmost progress 
that the system is capable of producing} while the 
teacher will no longer be the victim of his confidence 
in the reality of its powers, by the incorrigible dulness 
or idleness of his pupil, whether child or adult. 

The course may be given quarterly or monthly, with 
as much advantage as by sections, which were established 
for the sole purpose of pointing out to the pupil the exact 
quantum of knowledge guaranteed to him in a certain 
number of lessons. While this progress was considered 
impracticable, it was necessary, in my opinion, to gua- 
rantee it to the pupil, in order to convince him there was 
no delusion ; but as this fear can no longer exist, the 
division into sections is by no means of indispensable 
necessity in the system. Nevertheless, I think this mode 
of ascertaining the progress of the pupil preferable. But 
I would advise the Hamiltonian teacher to do with all 
languages as I have myself done with the Latin and 
Greek; not to stipulate an absolute proficiency in any 
fixed number of sections, but continue to give instruc- 
tions until the pupil is satisfied he possesses as much as 
his teacher can communicate. This arrangement will 
render its adoption easy to every professor of languages, 
and will prevent the discontent of those who, having 
neglected their class, are, on the plan hitherto adopted, 
without a remedy. 

Almost every literary publication of respectability in 
the United Kingdom has spoken favourably of the Hamil- 
tonian System ; the following extracts, expressive of the 
sentiments of a few of them, did not appear in the first 
edition of this pamphlet : 


Extract from the Atlas of March ISth, 1827:" The 
plan of teaching languages according to the system named 
after Mr. Hamilton, has been the subject of much contro- 
versy. The writers have scribbled about it and about it, 
but do not appear to have satisfied either the public or them- 
selves. It is, in fact, a question of experiment. All the 
reasoning in the world could not settle it ; but the applica- 
tion of a little judgment and good sense may enable the ex- 
perimentalist to conduct his investigation in the shortest 
and safest manner, and to draw from it sound and practical 
inferences. The mode of teaching languages by grammar 
is this: a language is first resolved into its component 
parts, and by examining the relations of each class of words 
to one another, general rules are thence drawn for the re- 
construction and re-arrangement of them. When these rules 
are reduced to their most general form, they constitute, with 
the addition of a few definitions and axioms relative to lan- 
guage fundamentally considered, what is called a grammar. 
A child is taught to remember these abstract rules for the 
composition of words. When it is supposed he has ac- 
quired a sufficient stock of them, a piece of language in its 
constructed state is put into his hands, which it is required 
of him to submit to two processes : the first is to learn the 
value of each word separately ; and the next to learn their 
mutual relations, and thus ascertain the value of the whole 
as connected. The first process is performed with the aid 
of a dictionary ; the second with the aid of the grammar, 
either bodily, or as its rules are remembered. By a con- 
stant use of the dictionary, the student in time acquires a 
vocabulary : by a rigorous application of the general abstract 
rules, he learns to apply them to particular cases. Take the 
following simple instance : It is given to the student to 
extract the meaning out of the following sentence : Do tibi 
librum. The dictionary gives him the words, and the 


grammar shews him that verbs " of giving' 5 govern two 
cases an accusative of the thing given, and a dative of the 
person to whom the thing is given: he gathers, therefore* 
that the sentence means, " I give you a book." If he 
meets with the verb do again, he expects two cases after it, 
looks, and probably finds them ; if he finds the same words' 
again, he may recollect their meaning. An assiduous prac- 
tice of this exercise makes a boy, if he is quick and atten- 
tive, a tolerably good Latin scholar in about seven years. 
*"" The Hamiltonian plan is nearly the reverse of this. A 
piece of composition is put into the student's hands in its 
entire state. He is supplied with the exact value of each 
word as it. stands. By continuing this comparison a suffi- 
ciently long time, he acquires a vocabulary without the aid 
of dictionary and grammar. This vocabulary is of a pecu- 
liar kind; it embraces dictionary, grammar, and phrase- 
book. For not only is the word given as to meaning in one 
form, but in all forms. Not only is it found in do, ' I 
give/ but dare, ' to give,' and dant, ' they give ;' not only 
tu, f thou' but tibiy ' to thee/ and te, ' thee.' Now, as words 
are continually occurring, and as a man really stands in 
need of no very large suppellex verborum in order to read 
many books and hold much conversation, there seems little 
doubt but that these purposes are more rapidly answered 
by the latter system. If it were desirable to make a perfect 
master of a language ; if it were desirable that each student 
of Latin should prove a Quintilian, and a life was not con- 
sidered too much to devote to the object ; then the plan 
pursued in our public schools would undoubtedly be the 
best. For the ordinary purposes, however, for which Latin 
is learned in this country, the Hamiltonian plan is certainly 
the most rapid, and the most efficient, and it quickly enables 
the learner to read the ordinary books ; and if he is inclined 
to carry his investigations deeper, there is nothing to pre- 


vent him. In the case of all modern languages, we think 
there is even less doubt of its superiority. If a person 
were to visit Germany and learn German, as Mr. Coleridge 
describes himself to have done, without a master, without a 
grammar, and solely by experience, this would be the Ha- 
miltonian plan ; which is, in short, the mother's plan with 
her child. In the infant's case, things are interpreted by 
corresponding words ; in the case of two languages, the 
thing is a word, wjiich is explained by a corresponding 
word. The Hamiltonian plan has another advantage 5 it 
is the readiest way of acquiring the idiom of another lan- 
guage. This is done by the contrast between the perfect 
foreign phrase, and the very imperfect English phrase. 
Suppose the Italian phrase to be thus interpreted, 





the very awkwardness of the English expression impresses 
the difference on the memory almost indelibly." 

Extract from the Atlas of May 10, 1829 : "The diffi- 
culty of establishing a new system that goes fundamentally 
to uproot our preconceived notions and confirmed habits , 
is much greater than people generally suppose ; there are 
old prejudices to be conquered, settled principles to be set 
aside, and popular modes to be unlearned. Improvements 
are frequently of so startling a kind, that they are received 
as innovations, and the inventor or introducer of novt' 
theories has not only to struggle against predilections, but 
to argue the age out of its scepticism. 'It were good, 
therefore/ says Lord Bacon, 'that men, in their innova- 
ions, would follow the example of time itself, which indeed 
innovateth greatly, but quietly, and by degrees scarce to be 
perceived; for otherwise, whatsoever is new is unlocked 
for ; and ever it mends some, and pains others ; and he that 


is holpen takes it for a fortune, and thanks the time ; and 
he that is hurt, for a wrong, and imputeth it to the author/ 
It is for these reasons that a necessity yet exists for a 
further and repeated elucidation of the Hamiltoniari System, 
which has been long enough before the world to spread the 
knowledge of its peculiar merits, and which has excited 
more discussion than any other plan for the teaching of 
languages that has ever been promulgated. If it have not 
crept into the confidence of the majority of thinking 
people, the source of its failure must not, prima facie, be 
attributed to its internal imperfections, but rather to the 
obstacles that impede conversion. Few persons are willing 
to acknowledge that they have been all their lives in the 
wrong ; and the natural tendency to defend, even at the 
expense of judgment, those opinions which they wanted saga- 
city to controvert themselves, operates to prevent them from 
admitting the fallacies that have been exposed by others. 

"In the pamphlet before us, Mr. HAMILTON again pro- 
pounds his system, with a slight sketch of the history of its 
progress. This little history furnishes so many instances 
of the resistance offered to his scheme by those who were 
impressed with the paramount 'wisdom of our ancestors/ 
that we are induced to present our readers with a few illus- 
trative passages. The first suggestion of the system is thus 
candidly related by Mr. Hamilton." 

After having made some extracts from the first edi- 
tion of this pamphlet, the Reviewer proceeds : 

" At first the progress of his pupils was slow, and he 
discovered that the General (D'Angeli's) plan of parsing 
as well as translating would do only with linguists ; this 
discovery revealed to him, for the first time, that principle 
which forms a distinctive and remarkable feature in his 
system, the postponement of grammar until his pupils had 
accomplished half their reading course, during which the 


inflexions of the verbs, and the changes of the other decli- 
nable parts of speech were rendered familiar, and became 
practically fixed in their minds. The success of the stu- 
dents spread his fame ; ' and/ continues Mr. Hamilton, ' I 
had in the first short year about seventy pupils who paid 
me twenty-four dollars each, for half a course, and thus 
confirmed me a teacher for life/ From New York he pro- 
ceeded to Philadelphia, where his success was still more 
flattering, and where he perceived that his mode of transla- 
tion was, in fact, a strict analyzation of grammar ; a prin- 
ciple which he is surprised should have escaped the genius 
of Milton, Locke, Clarke, and Dumarsais. As he pro- 
gressed in practice, new lights broke upon him ; and, at 
last, after a long experience, he was enabled to bring his 
various principles into a more regular form, and to pro- 
duce that system which properly bears his name. 

, " The opposition given to Mr. Hamilton while his sys- 
tem was in course of development, was the natural re- 
sult of that scepticism with which all novel theories are 
received ; and it is well for the interests of education that 
an inquisition so uncompromising should have sat upon so 
important an innovation ; for we sincerely believe that it 
has fully established the utmost promise which even the 
'sanguine teacher anticipated. Some of the objections 
taken to harass Mr. Hamilton were unworthy of literary 
men ; he was repeatedly taunted with his mode of adver- 
tising, which it was asserted bore too much the appear- 
ance of quackery. To this taunt there are two answers ; 
first, that his mode of advertising, whether judicious or in- 
judicious, had nothing to do with the intrinsic value of his 
system, which, in fairness, should have been tried upon 
its own internal merits alone 5 second, that he possessed 
no other means of making the world acquainted with his 
system, except by giving it publicity in the usual way. All 


the errors, too, of those professors, who, adopting a 
of the Hamiltonian System, and retaining a portion of the 
own, had endeavoured to create a motley scheme of 
struction less decisive than either, were charged upon hin 
as proofs of the deficiencies and inconveniences of his pla 
Against numerous equally fallacious and superficial obje 
tions he had to contend : the practical results exhibit the 
individual and his labours in the most favourable point of 
view. He has no reason to complain of resistance, since 
it has produced such convincing evidence of his strength. 

" It is unnecessary to discuss this system in detail. We 
believe the public are very generally acquainted with it ; 
but we are anxious to close our notice with a few short 
observations in elucidation of those prominent points that 
appear to distinguish it from all others that have been 
hitherto brought into operation. Perhaps the first pecu- 
liarity that strikes the inquirer' is, that Mr. Hamilton 
teaches languages first and grammar after. This is a com- 
plete inversion of the old mode ; but it is more consistent 
with nature. Grammar is undoubtedly founded upon lan- 
guage, and not language upon grammar. Language ex- 
isted first, and grammar arose afterwards as a conventional 
harmonizer and assistant. The obvious course, therefore, 
is to obtain some acquaintance with the character of a lan- 
guage before we study the method of using it correctly. 
It is evidently absurd to teach the nomenclature and govern- 
ment of a science, of the component materials of which we 
are wholly ignorant. Schoolmasters formerly made pupils 
get a grammar by rote in Latin, before they knew one word 
of Latin. To substitute a real for a mechanical progress 
seems to be the object of this new, but simple principle. 
The next feature of novelty is the literal and analytical 
translation adopted by Mr. Hamilton. Words are rendered 
strictly by corresponding parts of speech, preserving accu- 


rately the cases, moods, tenses, and persons of the original. 
Thus, although some in elegancies and barbarisms of neces- 
sity creep into the translation, the pupil is taught the exact 
value and relation of each word 5 and learns insensibly, by 
a close analysis as he proceeds, the whole grammatical con- 
struction of the language he studies. Much labour, much 
time, much perplexity, is saved by this process, which 
smooths all the difficulties and embarrassments in the way 
of acquiring profound philological knowledge. In all former 
systems the pupil was disgusted by being forced to labour 
over tasks he did not understand ; in this system he com- 
prehends every word as he goes on, and by interesting his 
understanding, his attention is fixed, and his curiosity ex- 
cited. The association of the mind and memory is culti- 
vated ; the learner easily recollects that which is thoroughly 
clear to his sense ; and finding that at every step he gains 
a portion of knowledge familiarly and quickly, he will re- 
quire no further incitement to persevere, than the pleasure 
he receives in increasing his intellectual resources without 
toil or delay. In the pronunciation, also, of foreign lan- 
guages, Mr. Hamilton has cleared away the old impedi- 
ments. He has discovered if that can be called a disco- 
very which is merely the assertion of a truth that had been 
long manifest to people who reflected on the subject 
that the simple sounds of all languages are the same, the 
signs only by which they are represented differing. The 
admission of that fundamental principle gets rid of a world 
of pains-taking ; if people can be taught to pronounce pour 
as if it were spelt poor, metis as if it were spelt may, &c., 
they would perceive that a true pronunciation is much 
simpler than it seems. Two advantages belong to the 
system that deserve to be noticed. As many pupils may 
be "taught at the same moment as can be collected in an 
apartment together : for the instruction that guides and 


corrects one is equally applicable to all who are within 
hearing ; and the labour of the pupil is transferred to the 
teacher, who, as Mr. Hamilton quaintly expresses it, 
' teaches, instead of ordering to learn/ These advantages 
are important, and worthy of more extensive consideration 
than we can afford to give them ; however, we may have 
sufficiently discharged our duty, by keeping before the 
public a system that is equally honourable to the age, and 
to the man who had the firmness to persevere in its pro- 
duction. Our opinions are not lightly delivered ; we have 
examined all Mr. Hamilton's books, we have observed his 
mode of instruction in full operation, and we are fully im- 
pressed with the practicability and utility of his plan. It 
abbreviates the period of study, reduces the amount of 
labour, and increases, beyond all other systems, the actual 
acquirements of the pupil." 

Extract from th? Atlas of May SQth, 183O : " There is 
a strong resemblance between the systems of Hamilton and 
Jacotot. They both teach language by gradation and na- 
tural means. But it is in the main feature of difference 
between the two systems that our difficulty lies. The Ha- 
miltonian system seems to rely less upon the process by 
which it produces its effects, and more upon the taking 
advantage of the effects when they become visible. It 
reaches the memory through the understanding, impressing 
its instructions mainly by the force of conviction. It in- 
stils into the mind a clear notion of the nature of things, 
rather than their conventional types and agents. It works 
less by the association of ideas which, after all, must be 
involuntary than by the ideas themselves. On the other 
hand, the system of Jacotot is vigilant and severe in its 
means, depending for its effects upon the immediate rigour 
of its progress, rather than its general influence. It re- 
verses, or nearly so, the Hamiltonian doctrine, and ad- 


dresses the understanding through the memory, by first 
making its impressions deeply, and then relying upon the 
mysterious operations of the mind for the classification and 
application of the knowledge thus tattooed upon the reten- 
tion. It is so minute and painful in its detail*, that the 
probabilities are, that the pupil, in his extreme watchful- 
ness of the forms and representatives of wisdom, will hardly 
become wise. 

" In throwing out these hints, we have no desire either 
to encourage a useless controversy, or unnecessarily impugn 
a system that is so largely applauded by some of the lite- 
rary men of the Continent. In the discharge of our ciitical 
office, it becomes us to state -truly our opinions. If they be 
erroneous, we are open to conversion." 

Extract from an article on " the Hamiltonian System of 
teaching Languages" in the Academic Review for Sept. 
1827 : " The Hamiltonian system, like many other things, 
has been much talked about, and written about, and very 
little understood. The subject is interesting and important; 
and as we have had an extensive practical acquaintance 
with that and other methods of teaching, and have no in- 
terests to serve, or predilections to indulge, except such as 
are suggested by intrinsic merit and general utility, we feel 
entitled to have our say upon the subject, and to receive 
all the attention which our readers may think proper to 
bestow upon us. 

" Mr Hamilton, like all other innovators, has had great a 
deal of opposition and that not of the most liberal kind 
to contend with : he has been reviled, and his system con- 
demned, by those who admitted they knew nothing of the 
man, and who proved, by their writings, that they were 
quite as unacquainted with his system : but he has no 
reason to be dissatisfied with the result. 

" That Mr. Hamilton laid himself open to the charge of 


quackery, when he first solicited the attention of the public 
in this country, we are not inclined to deny. And who 
that presumes to deviate from the beaten tract of custom, 
and 'wisdom of ancestors/ can hope to do himself justice 
and avoid that imputation ? The monkish manufacturers 
of missals and breviaries denounced Faustus as a dealer 
with the devil ! Galileo, who maintained that the earth 
went around the sun, was obliged to eat his words." 

After detailing the process by which words and prac- 
tical grammar are communicated, and its astonishing 
effects on two of his young friends who attended one of 
Mr. Hamilton's classes, the writer continues : 

" Our more learned readers will pardon us if we explain 
what is meant by an interlinear translation. It is simply 
that every word is translated, and its exact meaning in 
English placed beneath it, between the lines of the original : 
so that the foreign word always presents itself to the eye 
in immediate conjunction with its signification in English. 
But it is not by the medium of the eye only that this 
system produces its effect ; the continual oral repetition 
of the words by the teacher and pupils makes an impression 
through the ear which is not easily obliterated. And this 
repetition produces no tedium, because the words are 
arranged in sentences, and connected with ideas. Would 
not any one rather read * UEcho et le Hibou, 9 or, * La 
Guenon et sa Guenuche* than two or three columns of 
words in a dictionary ? The principle exemplified every 
hour in common conversation : we repeat the commonest 
words of our native tongue a hundred times a day, and are 
never tired." 

C. F. Hodgson, Printer, 1 Gough Square, Fleet Street, London. 

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LD 21A-60w-10 '65 

General Library 

University of California